Wednesday 29th June 2011
2. Box Of Stones
4. Butterfly Culture
5. Atlas Hands
6. Stole You Away
9. Last Smoke Before The Storm
10. Don’t Go Slow
Every once in a while I get handed a CD by an artist that I may not have heard before, or a genre of music that I don’t listen to so often. Both of those were certainly the case when I was handed Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Last Smoke Before The Storm, but one thing is for certain, I was blown away on the first play.
Ben is 21 years old and grew up listening to the likes of Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone. He taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 10 after ditching his teacher after a few lessons, and started work on ‘The Last Smoke Before The Storm’ when he was a teenager.
“A lot of the songs on there I wrote when I was about 17 or 18,” Benjamin confirms. “I really wanted to get their sound right and I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing and recording. I’ve been working on them ever since really.”
The album contains 10 tracks and is laced with magical guitar work, beautiful poetic lyrics and a voice that makes you shiver.
‘Pictures’ gently opens up the album and almost makes me want to look at my own life through a Polaroid. We are peacefully glided through the album, with track after track leaving you mesmerised. Lasting just over 30 minutes you are not only left feeling as mellow as a summers evening, but you left wanting more.
Like a breath of fresh air to the ears, one man and his guitar take you on a simple journey of what real talent has to offer.
Finding it hard to pick a favourite, but being a sucker for a love song I fell quickly for ‘Stole You Away’.
“A couple of people have described some of my songs as love songs but there’s a level of ambiguity in them I think. I try not to ever focus on a central theme. I just bring together inspiration from around me and put it all into a song. Some songs are more direct, but there’s always that level of ambiguity.”