NON-COMM Recap: Bartees Strange spins stories during his stripped-down set
Bartees Strange may be a producer and songwriter, but above all, he’s a storyteller. Live from 38 North Studio in Falls Church, Virginia, he delved deep into the history behind his new album Live Forever.
Growing up, his mom was an opera singer, and his dad was in the military, so his family moved around a lot. Born in Ipswich, England, by the time he was 12, Strange had brief stints living in Germany, Greenland, and a few states across America. It was then that the family settled down in Mustang, Oklahoma.
An ode to the town he grew up in, Strange started with a stripped-down version of “Mustang.” As he prepared to play “Boomer,” he talked about moving to Brooklyn and feeling like he was finally coming into himself. His glowing chord progression and smooth vocals gave the track a nostalgic warmth.
Still, it was Oklahoma that seemed to capture his heart. As he introduced “Far,” he explained that it was one of the first songs he wrote when he got to the D.C. area, where he currently operates. As he gently strummed the guitar, he seemed distant, as if he was wandering around the places he was referencing.
“In A Cab” evoked another vivid memory, this one of riding around in Flatbush and yelling hello to Patti Labelle out a cab window. In the intimate acoustic setting, the hustle and bustle of New York City seemed far off. Instead, he was calm and collected as he reassured, “I been on my way, to hold you up, destroy the pain.” Strange ended the set with “Going, Going.” A soft send-off, he seemed to melt back into his memories.
You can check out Bartees Stranges’ 2021 NON-COMM set below and explore the rest of the festival here.
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In A Cab