It’s fair to say that Benjamin Francis Leftwich is the first York artist to break through into the national, mainstream consciousness for a fair while, and his debut album Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm gives a pretty good demonstration as to why. The 21 year old singer-songwriter has clearly made the most of the opportunities given to him, crafting an album of fragile, beautiful songs – and you can have a listen to it over at This Is Fake DIY right here.
From the stark introspection of ‘Pictures’ to the quietly defiant ‘Bottle Baby’, via the impossibly pretty ‘Butterfly Culture’, there are some stunning songs on display here. Tracks like ‘Box Of Stones’ and ‘Atlas Hands’ flesh out Ben’s sound with backing vocals and tasteful strings (in the case of ‘Box Of Stones’), but manage to do so without getting in the way of the simplicity of the songs as they were originally written.
Ben’s also got a fairly extensive touring schedule lined up over the next few months, including festival performances at Summer Sundae, Bestival, Reading/Leeds and Green Man Festivals, to name but a few. He’s also got a full UK headlining tour scheduled for later in the year – as part of that he’ll be playing a hometown show in York at the National Centre For Early Music on the 29th October. I can tell you that he reduced The Duchess to stunned silence during his last performance in the city, if you want some idea of what to expect. You can find details of all his upcoming shows here.
Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm is released on Dirty Hit records on the 4th July.