Raised primarily in rural Oklahoma, the farm to table allusion of Bartees Strange's sophomore album is quite clear. But the question that comes quickly to mind is why Strange needs a seat at the proverbial table if all he's going to do is kick it aside and jump up in the middle of the damn banquet and sing his songs. Once again Strange makes references to nights spent performing at New York's Beacon Theatre ("Cosigns"), but Farm to Table's tightest tracks are more custom made for headlining nearby Madison Square Garden.
Bartees Strange has been on a meteoric rise since releasing acclaimed debut Live Forever in late 2020. He's toured with Phoebe Bridgers, Courtney Barnett and Car Seat Headrest, performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and has generally been heralded as a shot in the arm for indie rock, largely due to his fearless, genre-agnostic songwriting and his innate charisma. Sophomore album Farm to Table somewhat streamlines Live Forever's buffet of rock, emo, folk, rap and electronica into something more considered, a multi-course meal that brings us into Bartees' world and invites us to spend the evening.
Within the span of a year, he went from a relative unknown releasing an EP of The National covers to an acclaimed indie rock polymath, fusing a seemingly bottomless well of musical influences on his 2020 debut record, Live Forever. That album was scrappy and ambitious, with Strange finally getting the chance to prove himself after years of hustling. In contrast, Strange's follow-up, Farm To Table, finds him on top of the world, taking a well-deserved victory lap and offering resonant meditations on his burgeoning indie rock stardom.
After his breakthrough debut LP Live Forever, Bartees Strange quickly became a paragon of the indie-rock model—a friendly, working-class musician in his early thirties who earned the deserved attention through sheer talent. Despite his genre-averse approach, Strange had written some of the ….
Fluidity has permeated the life of Bartees Leon Cox Jr. for much of his life. As a military brat, he would bounce across Europe, and migrate along different pockets of America. He would flow between different dreams, too – sports journalism, public communications. And on his debut album, 2020 ….