Grand Ole Opry / Instagram
Oliver Anthony has been one of the biggest yet least expected things to happen to country music in 2023. The singer-songwriter (whose real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford), broke onto the scene earlier this year when a video of him performing his original song “Rich Men North of Richmond” went viral. He became a star overnight.
Anthony made music history by becoming the first-ever artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts without previously having a song on the charts. The song “Rich Men North of Richmond” topped the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks.
At the end of November, the up-and-coming artist announced that he would make his debut at the famed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN on Saturday, December 16th.
When Olver Anthony stepped into the historic Opry Circle for the first time, he began his set in an unexpected way. He opened his Bible and began to read a passage from the book of Matthew. The passage, which includes Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, closes with:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
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Anthony followed the reading with a performance of his song “I Want To Go Home” which tells of a feeling of longing to go home (to heaven) to be with God.
Of course, Oliver Anthony could not let the evening pass without performing the song that put him on the map. He performed the viral hit “Rich Men North of Richmond” and the crowd was so fired up that he sang the song again, in its entirety. The second time around, he let the audience take the lead on the vocals and they sang every word by memory.
See a clip of the performance below!
@darciclairecountry Was pretty cool getting to see @Oliver Anthony make his @Grand Ole Opry debut tonight!🎙 #northofrichmond #richmond #oliveranthony #grandoleopry #oprydebut #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – Darci Claire’s Mama🖤