If Bon Iver had hunkered down in, say, the Kielder Forest, instead of the Appalachians, he’d have emerged sounding a lot like Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Sure, the boy’s still growing – and he’s more teddy bear than Grizzly Bear right now. But what a voice – this 22 year old folk singer from York is already creating a buzz in all the right places. And, with debut album Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm (out early July), he’s justified it with a set of songs shot through with more maturity than most of his peers’ overwrought excursions.
Tracks like ‘Atlas Hands’ and ‘Pictures’ – gossamer thin, but with just enough grit to anchor them into our internal MP3 players – show there’s real talent here. The worry? The accompanying videos are very slick, and SevenStreets fears for the boy. He’s got all the makings of a real stayer, but with major league support behind him, support from (shudder) Dermot O’Leary, the right looks and, doubtless, the right stylist, Leftwich needs to act like a big boy, and say no when T-Mobile come calling, which they will…
Catch him while he’s still pure of heart, at Kazimier in June.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich, 1 June
The Kazimier, Wolstenholme Square