Doors 7.30pm | Tickets £16.50 | Malt Room Standing | On sale 10am 24th Nov
Artistic transformation is often associated with a blast of fanfare – the dramatic unveiling of a new look, or lofty announcement of the revelation that prompted such a change. In the case of Benjamin Francis Leftwich, reinvention transpires with significantly more subtlety on his latest album, Some Things Break.
“It feels like a new voice, in a way.” the York-born artist says. “I guess a more human and perhaps a more surrendered voice. Learning to hold on to certain things and let go of others with as much grace as possible…I feel like I’m hiding less on this record. Ultimately i think it’s a record about a kind of slow acceptance that some things break and for me – sometimes that’s necessary for healing”
Fans of Leftwich’s earlier work will associate him with a rich but pared-back acoustic singer-songwriter sound. Hit songs such as “Atlas Hands” and “Shine” – both from his Top 40 debut Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm – were infused with a charming wistfulness, and the yearning for sweet escape. Fans and critics alike were struck by this new artist’s disarming honesty; his lyrics were lauded for their candidness and vulnerability.
On Some Things Break, Leftwich’s fifth album, it’s as though you’re hearing his mea culpa in real time. This is the soul-baring of a man who’s been through it all, and lived to tell the tale, now with a brand new perspective on the things that matter. Leftwich is now five years sober, having struggled with substance abuse following the death of his father, before meeting someone who helped him turn things around. “We fell in love, she came on tour with me around America,” he says. “She was the kindest person I’ve ever met.” When that relationship ended, he booked himself in for treatment and got sober himself.
Leftwich’s singing style, redolent of Frank Sinatra or Edith Piaf; each piano note lands like those rays of light bursting through clouded heavens, bright and full of promise.
“I feel like there’s nowhere for me to hide on this record,” Leftwich says. “I’m proud of so much of my earlier work, but trying to replicate that now would feel very obsequious and fake. I’m proud of this – it’s from the heart.”
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