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Video of the Moment #2910: Benjamin Francis Leftwich

 
By on Monday, 12th November 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Earlier this year, London via Yorkshire singer/songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich released a new EP, ‘I Am With You’. Last week, he premiered the music video for ‘Gratitude’, a new single that has been taken from his upcoming third album. There’s precious little we know so far about the upcoming LP except that it’ll drop on Dirty Hit Records in early 2019. What we do know is that ‘Gratitude’ is a breathy, beautiful tune that swells to a choral crescendo at its conclusion. Watch and listen to the promo for ‘Gratitude’ below. Past coverage on Benjamin Francis Leftwich on TGTF is through here.

 

Album Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich – After the Rain

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich After the Rain album coverSince his 2011 debut album ‘Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm’, Benjamin Francis Leftwich has been on somewhat of a hiatus, releasing just the four-track EP ‘In The Open’ in 2012. Shortly after the EP’s release, his father was diagnosed with cancer, causing him to cancel a North American tour that winter. His father sadly passed in April 2013, leaving Leftwich distraught: “I just needed to live outside of music”.

Two long, hard years later, Benjamin Francis Leftwich has released his long anticipated second studio album ‘After The Rain’ this month. On the new LP, Leftwich is essentially serving up his life over the past few years on a plate, as he addresses the pain and heartache he went through as he grieved the loss of his father. As a commemoration, ‘After The Rain’ is both melancholic yet optimistic in its delicate yet grand decorum.

The album opens with the previously released ‘Tilikum’, which was also his first release in 3 years. Its meandering guitar melody intro sets the scene perfectly for Leftwich’s vocals to return in the whispering falsetto previously engraved in our minds in 2011. As he paints a picture of the times shared with his father, the track continues in a delicate, ghostly fashion, the musical equivalent to a light, late afternoon autumn breeze. Each part of the song, from the female backing vocals harmonising the topline to the light brushwork on the drums, were thoroughly thought out and perfectly executed when sculpting the overall sound of the track.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxDOtHVwFEE[/youtube]

Although the same elements are used throughout, third track ‘She Will Sing’ carries more of a tribal feel. With a lot more momentum, the song shows a far more exciting side to the album. The heavy use of added percussion, together with a rhythmic vocal melody, play a huge part in creating vigour within the track. Aside from these two major elements, we continue to hear a very delicate vocal tone, Leftwich’s trademark fingerpicked guitar melody that meanders around the chords and an equally as soft and simple pad sound that weaves together with the guitar.

‘After the Rain’ can be categorized instantly with a few similar artists. Twinkly guitar lines and falsetto vocals scream Bon Iver and Ben Howard, which we hear religiously throughout. This works for Leftwich, and it works well. But when we look past the obvious, specifically in tracks like ‘Kicking Roses’ with its minimalist indie electronic vibe, and the abstract sample sound used in ‘Mayflies’, the music points towards The Postal Service and James Blake. Considering Leftwich’s similarities with singer/songwriter types, these outsider influences are like a breath of fresh air. The only downside is that they don’t appear as often as one would like. An equal blend of the two separate reference groups would be perfect in pulling the whole album together, rather than an overuse of folky, easy listening elements and an underuse of the electronic ones.

‘Mayflies’ is the only song on the album in which elements from both sets of influences are utilised cohesively. A colourful, off-beat drum groove intertwined with a simple, syncopated guitar melody form the foundations of this folk-orientated track. The vocal melody has been planned carefully to allow for downtime during the verses, with longer phrases and fewer syllables, with the change to a more rhythmic melody with much sharper projection. Intriguingly, Leftwich puts focus on the aforementioned abstract sample sound, specifically throughout the end of each chorus. The use of this sample here effectively gives the track a lot more momentum, while carefully adding one more element of interest and surprise for his listeners.

Emotionally and lyrically, this is an incredible album with great use of instrumentation. It is touching and emotional in a very direct way, a window intosome of Leftwich’s very personal matters. Sonically, I feel it could take a little more work. The broadening in sounds and experimentation with influences is a well-accepted addition to the album; however, these moments come few and far between. If executed as strongly as we hear in ‘Mayflies’ or ‘Kicking Roses’, he could be onto a very unique and individual sound, and one that could be the groundwork for something bigger.

6.5/10

‘After The Rain’ is out now on Dirty Hit Records. Benjamin Francis Leftwich will begin a UK tour next month on the 21st of September in Norwich. This will be followed by mainland Europe and American tours in October through December. For more on TGTF’s coverage on Leftwich, go here.

 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich / September and October 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 6th July 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich has just announced a list of UK live dates for this September, in support of his upcoming new album ‘After the Rain’. The album is scheduled for release on the 19th of August on Dirty Hit and will include the song ‘Mayflies’, which editor Mary featured as our Video of the Moment #2108 back in June.

Tickets for the following shows will be available for general sale on Friday, the 7th of July, at 9 AM. In the meantime, you can check out TGTF’s previous coverage of Benjamin Francis Leftwich right back here.

Wednesday 21st September 2016 – Norwich Arts Centre
Thursday 22nd September 2016 – Islington Assembly Hall
Friday 23rd September 2016 – Cardiff Gate
Saturday 24th September 2016 – Bristol Fleece
Monday 26th September 2016 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Tuesday 27th September 2016 – Manchester Academy 3
Wednesday 28th September 2016 – Leeds Stylus
Friday 30th September 2016 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Saturday 1st October 2016 – Aberdeen Cafe Drummond

 

Video of the Moment #2108: Benjamin Francis Leftwich

 
By on Friday, 3rd June 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Yorkshire singer/songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich will be releasing his second album in August: ‘After the Rain’ sees its release on the 19th of August on Dirty Hit Records. ‘Mayflies’ is the second teaser and single to be released from the upcoming LP, and it’s about being caught up in the moment, without thinking about the repercussions the morning after.

The less elegant way of describing this song, in Leftwich’s own words, are here in the video’s premiere at the Independent. I don’t know if it’s funny or cruel to be posting this on a Friday night! Watch it yourself below. Our archive on things related to Benjamin Francis Leftwich is right back here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vzo-SFCyPA[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich with John Brodeur at Black Cat Backstage, Washington DC – 26th February 2013

 
By on Monday, 11th March 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

I knew I was going to enjoy the show with Benjamin Francis Leftwich, but what I didn’t know was how funny he was. Dead funny. Sometimes an artist will take the stage and mumble through his set. Sometimes they’ll not talk to the audience at all. I’ve even experienced painful, strained discourse that makes me pray they’ll shut up. Leftwich not only was comfortable in his own skin all alone on stage, but he drolly deadpanned his way throughout his set leaving us all giggling.

The evening started off a little on the slow side with John Brodeur. With a bit of hobo chic, he gave us a true story of abuse from ‘Across the Hall’ and a lover’s lament in ‘Peace’. Sadly, I found nothing remarkable about his songs or performance. I think it takes a special kind of someone to command a crowd with just you and your guitar, and I have seen quite a few gigs where this is carried off brilliantly. Sorry to say, but Brodeur just didn’t do it for me.

John Brodeur live

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the Leftwich gig. But a guy who tweets that this was going to be the penultimate gig of the tour is a winner to me (‘penultimate’ being my favourite underused word in American English). The place I was going was exceptionally small, so I suspected it was going to be just him and a guitar, no other musicians at all. And unlike my recent Foy Vance support slot to Ed Sheeran in January (a guy also prone to performing on a stage with just his guitar), no loop pedal either. What exactly could this guy do that would shake up at rather quiet, melodic studio offering to make it a gig worth coming out for? Well it didn’t take long to find out. After starting off with the stunning ‘1904’, full of the reverb so prevalent in the recording, Leftwich looked us over and must have decided in our favour. The next thing I knew, he had unplugged his guitar and stepped out in front of the mic. Album opener ‘Pictures’ was delivered, clear as a bell, to the assembled crowd. That started a night of weaving completely unamplified bits in with the regular fuller parts of the songs. I honestly don’t know if this is how he handled all of the previous dates of his American tour, but it was a particularly brilliant treatment for the room we were in.

We got some new tunes as well: ‘Day by Day’, written about the good parts of being on the road all the time, ‘Little Moon’, written during the time when he learned about his father’s illness, and ‘Cocaine Doll’. It will be interesting to see what songs survive to the new album that he kept talking about going home to record.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich live

The best moment? Has to be the encore. Coming back out on stage, he was clearly happy with the way we had been receiving the structure of his set and he hopped off the stage, sat down on the floor and invited us all to join him. It was like a campfire sing-along. But with beer. And a really cool counselor. So there he sat, people all around him, singing ‘Atlas Hands’ like he had known us all his life. Cheers to you, man. Come back any time and sing for us again.

After the cut: Leftwich’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich with John Brodeur at Black Cat Backstage, Washington DC – 26th February 2013

 

Live Gig Video: Benjamin Francis Leftwich performs an acoustic version of ‘In the Open’ in Brighton

 
By on Friday, 30th November 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

For this afternoon, we’ve got a lovely acoustic video from Benjamin Francis Leftwich. He just released his new EP ‘In the Open’ this past Monday, and here is a video of him performing the title track acoustically in Brighton. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VljehH92whI[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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