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Oliver Anthony to Release Dave Cobb-Produced Debut Album on Easter Sunday

Oliver Anthony, the Appalachian singer who had the biggest out-of-nowhere viral hit in years in 2023, announced Friday that he will be issuing his debut album, “Hymnal of a Troubled Man’s Mind,” on Easter Sunday.

The collection was produced by the biggest name in the production of roots-oriented music, Dave Cobb, famous for his work with Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell as well as film projects such as “Elvis” and “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.”

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Notably, the album does not include the polarizing anthem that put Anthony on the map, “Rich Men North of Richmond.” But it includes many of the other songs that the singer has put out since then, newly re-recorded in the studio with Cobb. Of the 10 songs included on the new record, nine were previously released in some form, many in the field-recording format that served Anthony well with “Rich Men,” and now have a fresh audio sheen, without much in the way of additional arrangement.

A tenth song is a previously unheard song, “Momma’s Been Hurting.”

Appropriately, perhaps, for an album released on a major religious holiday, but still highly unusual for any commercial release, “Hymnal” features Anthony reciting biblical verses between songs. The singer told Joe Rogan in a lengthy interview last year that he is a man of faith, although he hadn’t been to church in many years.

Anthony is releasing the album independently, even though major labels were reportedly heatedly pursuing him for a record deal after “Rich Men North of Richmond” turned the Virginian into almost literally an overnight sensation (and a scourge of many commentators who didn’t appreciate his lyrical views on welfare recipients).

In a statement, Anthony — whose real name is Chris Lunsford, but who took the name of a late relative for performing — says that he wanted to get a proper recording out of some of the most meaningful songs that had brought him to this point before moving on to material that was written with a studio project in mind.

“’Hymnal of a Troubled Man’s Mind’ is the story of my life, from 2013 until 2023,” Anthony/Lunsford said. “It is intended for the listener to sit down in a quiet place, undistracted and just listen beginning to end… This album represents the most pure and transparent view inside my heart and soul that I could offer. While ‘Richmond’ was the song that got my name out in the public, this release represents the true foundation of the music that got me through life up until now.”

He added that “in sort of a beautiful and crazy way, nearly all the songs that my fans listen to outside of the RadioWv session from August of 2023” — i.e., the outdoor “Rich Men” session seen on video — “are those Android recordings I recorded almost immediately after writing each song in 2022-2023. Think of them like a rough draft: in many cases, I had written the song not even 30 minutes before recording. My motivation for uploading was mainly to create a tangible medium, so the songs were safe for me to play at open mics without worrying about them being stolen. I feel that it was my responsibility to give a handful of my early written songs the completion they deserve.”

The songs on the album are “Rich Man’s Gold,” “Doggonit,” “I’ve Got to Get Sober,” “Cobwebs and Cocaine,” “Hell on Earth,” “I Want to Go Home,” “Feeling Purdy Good,” “Always Love You Like a Good Old Dog” and “VCR Kid” as well as the concluding “Momma’s Been Hurting.”

Anthony said it will not be long before he puts out freshly penned songs. “Now, I can begin releasing my most recent work, without feeling like I skipped an important step. Fans can expect to start seeing new releases soon, following this project.”

Easter will find the singer giving a benefit concert at the Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, Virginia that will be livestreamed for free on his social channels on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, X and TikTok. The stream will encourage donations to Beacon Hill Church’s food outreach program.

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