Benjamin Francis Leftwich and the Night Owl.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich and the Night Owl. My good friend Dalton has always been what you might consider a night owl. The polar opposite from his brother and Setlist co-founder Landon, whom I envy immensely for his ability to fall asleep as fast as his head hits the pillow. I can think of countless times Landon and I would be coming up with elaborate ways to wake up Dalton during the day so we could go out and do something together. Picking him up and forcing him in a cold shower or lighting the fuzz of his socks on fire, you name it and we tried it, but Dalton is a creature of the night and fighting his nature was often proven futile. It wasn’t rare to wake up for a midnight pee, or snack and find him in the kitchen or the bathroom for that matter, happy to have some company to join him in his nightly adventures. The night we drove to Florida for spring break was no different.
Dalton excitedly volunteered for the graveyard shift, which didn’t come as a surprise. I can remember when the shift change came and we all rotated spots. I sat shotgun, Landon and the rest of the boys sat in the back while the Nightman himself took the keys.
I think we wanted to stay awake but there was no fighting the road trip induced fatigue and all of us hesitantly drifted to sleep. The next thing I can remember is waking up to the smell of burning sage. I slowly opened my eyes to see Dalton already staring back at me smiling as he drove. No words were spoken for a while as I tried to understand my surroundings. Sage burning, a gentle song on repeat creating a chilling tranquility, in spite of chaos happening inside that car, and it felt like we were going fast. My eyes then broke from Daltons gaze as they fell upon the speedometer, ah yes I thought we were going fast, 110.
That was just another night with Dalton, but the song that was a major culprit in setting the mood for that peaceful yet unsettling experience was called Butterfly Culture and it was the first time I had heard one of my favorite artists, Benjamin Francis Leftwich.
Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to see him play live and speak to him after a show in Columbus, Ohio. He has released two albums; Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm which reached #35 on the UK Albums Chart, and last summer put out After the Rain. We’ll be releasing an in depth review of both of these LP’s in the coming months, but for now I’d like to draw some attention to his new single Pure Morning, that dropped in February.
It stays true to his style as a song that is very soft and hypnotic in a sense. One of the things I love about his music is the simplicity, most of his songs are very lyrically centered with subtle instrumentals in the background only there to elevate the message he is nearly whispering to you. By singing as softly as he does, it creates a level of engagement with the listener that normally is hard to capture when lyrics are so ambiguous. But with Benjamin, for me, it feels as if you’re involved in a deep conversation and the speaker lowers his voice as if to let you in on a secret, so you lean in and are careful not to miss a single word. It’s a great song and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well as his other work, check it out here.