Q&A: Benjamin Francis Leftwich discusses tour and latest album release

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Vagrant Records

In 2011, English singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich released Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm, launching him into the spotlight. His single “Shine” was named the most addictive Spotify track of 2014, and now, five years later, he’s back on tour celebrating the release of his latest album, After the Rain. The Daily Texan spoke with Leftwich before his upcoming show in Austin. 

The Daily Texan: It’s been five years since your last tour and album. How has it been getting back into the groove of making music and performing? Was it hard to start up again?

Benjamin Francis Leftwich: I haven’t been on a tour since 2011, and I needed a break from music to get back into the real world and be inspired by real things as opposed to just being on the road constantly. It feels natural to me, to be honest, and I feel at home now spending time on this tour. I love it, and I love seeing people connect with the songs, and I’m really grateful for it.

DT: You published a letter really opening up and explaining the personal reasons for your hiatus — the loss of your father. Has making music again and publishing that been therapeutic at all? 

BFL: Yeah, totally. When I was 20 years old making the first album, I was kind of putting things on paper and recording it immediately. You trust your impulse a bit more, but as you grow older, you learn to become more patient with your music, and I’m a lot more at peace with music now. Some days are great in the studio, and some days are hard as well. It’s a passion, and it isn’t always amazing, but you have to go through a few dark moments to get to the sun. It was a pretty beautiful process making the album, and I’m really proud of it. I’m proud of the first one as well, but they’re different albums. 

DT: How have those same events changed you and your music? 

BFL: They made me a lot more aware of our time on Earth and how it’s limited. What I went through has made me grow up a lot, I think. That was a big part of my life leading up to this album, and it feels good to be back on the road again. We all grow up and go through different things whether you’re a musician or not.

DT: Which song of yours has resonated with you the most and why?

BFL: It’s honestly different every night depending on my mood, but at the moment, I’m loving playing songs off the new album. I’m loving playing live in general, but I really like two songs off the new album called “Tilikum” and “Kicking Roses” because I feel really connected to them. They’re very personal songs to me, and there’s an honesty to them that feels fresh even though I’ve sung them hundreds of times. 

DT: What can fans expect at your upcoming show in Austin?

BFL: Well, I’m doing this whole tour with just me on stage. I’m playing lots of old songs and lots of new songs, and I’m switching the setlist up a bit each night. It’s a really beautiful, intimate show, and I’m just very happy to be here and in Austin. I’m looking forward to it. 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich will perform at Stubb’s BBQ on Nov. 26.