Bartees Strange: “A lot of my songs tend to start off as country songs and become something else”

Bartees Strange. Credit: Luke Piotrowski
(Image credit: Luke Piotrowski)

On his punchy and impactful full-length debut, 2020’s Live Forever, Bartees Strange (or Bartees Leon Cox Jr, if you’re being extra formal about it) invited listeners to experience the places that shaped him into the idiosyncratic powerhouse he is today – places like Mustang, Oklahoma, where he settled at age 12 after a childhood spent everywhere from Germany to Greenland; or Flagey, which is often seen as the cultural heartbeat of Brussels. 

Live Forever set the scene for Strange’s story – so naturally, on its follow-up, we’re introduced to the characters that carry its narrative. At its core, Farm To Table is a family affair, Strange honouring his roots and those who planted them. It’s a homely record, which is reflected in a cruisier and less intense, yet much more dense and ambitious, soundscape. He taps deeper into his country influence, plays more in the pop realm, and is defiantly unafraid of dialling the energy down a notch. 

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…