bypassing what he called the music industry “machine.” Rich, who started off in Nashville at Opryland USA right out of high school decades ago, reached the pinnacle of success when he joined Big Kenny in 2002 to form the country music duo Big & Rich
According to reporter John Solomon, if the earth shook beneath Nashville, “it probably had something to do with maverick country star John Rich.” Being “unabashedly conservative and weary of woke record labels and group station owners,” Rich “decided to bypass the traditional industry machinery” and release his song Progress via “two fledgling free-speech social media platforms, Truth Social owned by former President Donald Trump, and the Rumble video community.”
Within hours of Rich’s release, Progress soared to No. 1 on the Apple iTunes song chart, beating out heavy hitter new releases from Billie Eilish and Lizzo, as well as Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush. “Hello Patriots,” Rich wrote on Truth Social introducing his new song available for download. “This is my message to the tyrants running our country into the ground, to ‘Stick your Progress’ where the sun don’t shine!”
According to the Washington Examiner, the song’s lyrics include several direct messages challenging the views of liberals. “They say building back better will make America great,” Rich sings. “If that’s the wave of the future, all I’ve got to say is, stick your progress where the sun don’t shine. Keep your big mess away from me and mine. If you leave us alone, well, we’d all be just fine.”
According to Just the News, Rich said that while most country fans and artists have remained true to the roots of country music and its values, the marketing and distribution machines have increasingly become woke. So, he suspected that traditional radio station groups, record labels, and social media platforms like Twitter would shun or shadowban his new song and its conservative-friendly theme.
“Here I am with no record label, no publisher, no marketing deal,” Rich said. “It is bypassing this machine that they’ve built, going right around the machine, going right to the people.” The country musician also explained that the way he rolled out his new album came down to trusting his own beliefs, and that meant staying away from the “woke” platforms. That’s when the idea of trying Truth Social and Rumble as an experiment was born.
Country musician John Rich singing “Progress” (Credit: YouTube)
Rich described his thought process in releasing his new work. “When I’m talking about them shutting down our voices, I’m talking about Twitter and YouTube and Facebook,” Rich said. “And I thought, you know what, I’m gonna reach out to Truth Social and reach out to Rumble because they still allow free speech over there,” he added. “Why would I launch this song on the platforms that I’m railing against in the lyrics?”
The maverick singer hopes this inspires other artists like himself, showing them that there is a way to be successful and stay true to your own principles. “I think without a doubt, it is a path forward,” Rich said. “It is bypassing this machine that they’ve built, going right around the machine, going right to the people. It means that if you bring the right content, and you have people like Truth and Rumble that will get that message to your core audience, you can beat the machine that’s been put in place to keep people like me shut down.”
Rich explained that the inspiration for the song came to him after spending months watching the country going into what he described as an utter decline. “I’m watching what I consider to be the dismantling of our country at a lot of different levels,” he said. “And when you sit back and look at it, the vast majority of it’s being perpetrated on us under the banner of ‘progress.’ Like in the name of progress we’re going to send gasoline through the roof so you have to buy an electric car.”
The former Big & Rich star also had an uphill battle with country radio stations to persuade them to play his work. “Here’s the problem with country radio,” he said. “It’s not your DJs at the radio station. It’s the people way up the food chain that run the conglomerates that have bought up 90% of all of our radio stations. There’s a big [contingent] of them that do not like anybody bucking their woke system.” It appears part of John Rich’s recipe for success involves staying true to his own beliefs and principles, and whether you agree or disagree with him, no one can say he will sell his soul to the highest bidder.