“‘Hold the Line’ was written over the course of three days during that first pandemic summer,” Bartees Strange said in a statement. “Through this song I was trying to make sense of what was happening in the US, my neighborhood and my community at that moment. During the marches people were trying to stop the bleeding, locked arm in arm, doing everything they could to hold the line.”
The artist continued: “I remember watching George Floyd’s daughter talk about the death of her father and thinking wow – what a sad introduction to Black American life for this young person. It was painful to watch her grow up in that moment, like all Black kids eventually do.”
Though he croons “Can’t imagine what’s running through her young mind now,” Bartees Strange sings with a regretful understanding of state-sanctioned violence while his guitar gently weeps. “What happened to the man with that big old smile?/ I’m calling to my mother now,” he groans, before a moving solo takes off. Listen to the song below.
Farm to Table hits digital formats on June 17th, with a physical rollout following on October 7th. Bartees Strange announced the album by sharing the braggadocious first single “Cosigns,” and before that, he shared a cover of The National’s “About Today” for the suicide prevention nonprofit Sounds of Saving.