Home Read Albums Of The Week: Bartees Strange | Farm To Table

Albums Of The Week: Bartees Strange | Farm To Table

For this much-anticipated followup to his 2020 breakthrough debut Live Forever, the enigmatic singer-songwriter gets personal with a subtler, more textured approach.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Farm To Table is the second album from D.C. resident Bartees Leon Cox Jr. Where his 2020 debut record Live Forever introduced the experiences and places that shaped Bartees (Flagey Brussels, Mustang Oklahoma), Farm To Table zeros in on the people — specifically his family — and those closest to him on his journey so far.

With his career firmly on the ascent, Farm To Table examines Bartees’ constantly shapeshifting relationship with life post-Live Forever. It also speaks to a deeper lore that says, don’t forget where you came from, and this album is why. Always remembering where he came from, across 10 songs Bartees is celebrating the past, moving towards the future, and fully appreciating the present.

An unapologetic and braggadocious indie-trap banger, the single Cosigns celebrates Bartees’ peers, collaborators and friends; name-checking the likes of Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers, Courtney Barnett, and Lucy Dacus, through a genre-defying outpouring somewhere between swaggering hip-hop and euphoric alt-rock. The song ends on a poem he wrote in his early 20s, “I don’t know how to be full, it’s the hardest to know, I keep consuming I can’t give it up, It’s never enough.” Cosigns is also a moment for Bartees to acknowledge himself, giving himself credence and unashamedly basking in that glow. Its accompanying official video was directed by Pooneh Ghana.

Born in Ipswich, England to a military father and opera-singer mother, Bartees had a peripatetic early childhood before eventually settling in Mustang, Oklahoma. Later, Bartees cut his teeth playing in hardcore bands in D.C. and Brooklyn whilst working in the Barack Obama administration and (eventually) the environmental movement. Since charting a path as a solo artist, Bartees Strange has released two records in quick succession: an EP reimagining songs by The National (Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy, 2020) and his debut album proper Live Forever (2020).”