Indie/folk troubadour
Ones To Watch - Benjamin Francis Leftwich

“I’d describe myself as a singer-songwriter,” begins twenty-one-year-old troubadour Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “but I hate the way the term is used.”

A catch-all term for any old hack with a guitar, young Ben occupies the more classic world of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and, perhaps his most obvious influence, Elliott Smith.

Growing up in York, he began playing guitar when he was ten. By the time he was sixteen, he was in a hotly-tipped local band - “we used to get compared to Placebo and Echo And The Bunnymen,” he says proudly - but decided to go it alone a few years later. He prefers it that way.

“You might not have the power, in terms in volume, when you’re up there on your own, but you definitely have more control.”

His debut album, ‘Last Smoke Before The Snow Storm’, is released on July 4th. While love, the unrequited kind, is a central theme on the record, Ben claims it’s not a collection written in the first person. He’s aiming for something bigger.

“I don’t mean that in a ‘these songs are globally important’ way,” he admits. “I mean ‘bigger’ in that it’s more than me singing about a girl that doesn’t like me. Love is touched on, and I sing the word a lot, especially on a song like ‘Pictures’, but the album’s more an exploration of emotion.”

“For me it’s hard to put myself too much into a song, because you’re exposed when you do that,” Ben continues. “I try to phrase things more ambiguously than that. The songs are really personal, of course, but I want them to be like stories and not necessarily be autobiographical. I want them to mean something to everyone.”

Words by Andy Welch
What: Acoustic indie/folk
Where: York
Unique Fact: His cover of Arcade Fire’s ‘Rebellion’ has been downloaded more than thirty thousand times.  
Get 3 songs: ‘Pictures’, ‘Atlas Hands’, ‘1904’


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