Benjamin Francis Leftwich Releases Gorgeous “Just Breathe”

Benjamin Francis Leftwich Releases Gorgeous New Track “Just Breathe”

Ben Leftwich by Pip for Dirty Hit Records

Indie folk singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich has just released “Just Breathe”, the first track from his second studio album After the Train, set for release on August 9th, 2016. His first studio album, Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm, was released in July 2011, so it’s been a while since we’ve received a full-length studio project from him.

“Just Breathe” opens with softly plucked acoustic guitars and tranquil instrumentation that make me feel like I’m perched high atop a cloud, happy to float in the air and ready to fall asleep. This track is a slow and gentle jam, which may increase or decrease the favorability of the music; it depends on who you ask. Then, Leftwich’s wispy and delicate vocals come in, a vocal style that I find surprisingly distinctive. When the drumbeat comes in, you might expect the tune to speed up or gain more momentum, but no—it adds to the unhurried tone of the track instead. The chorus is the height of “Just Breathe”; the simple percussion strengthens the peaceful mood, and Leftwich delivers the lyrics similarly, with a sentimental spin that warms your heart:

Just breathe

I’ll catch you

On the way down

We can turn around

The weight of the sky on top of us

Just breathe

I won’t let you

Fade out

We can turn around

The weight of the sky on top of us

The rest of the track follows in a similar vein in terms of instrumentation and vocal style. The short bridge strips away some of the instruments to leave the lone acoustic guitar united with Leftwich’s feathery vocals. The tune closes on the same note as it began.

I do think “Just Breathe” is an impressively well-produced track; the instruments sound great, and they help generate the emotional mood that Leftwich seems to desire. However, production isn’t enough for me to like a track, and frankly, I find “Just Breathe” rather dull. I think the progression of the track is monotonous and repetitive, no matter how beautiful the instrumentation sounds. I don’t expect artists and bands to change up the sound of the music within a track, but usually, there’s some semblance of creativity present. To my ears, “Just Breathe” kind of just ambles around, not in any particular direction that will capture the attention of listeners or draw more fans to Benjamin Francis Leftwich. (Actually, I’m not a huge fan of Leftwich’s wispy vocals, but I can see how some people might like them.) Some listeners may find this track gorgeous, and I can certainly understand that perspective—it is definitely a well-produced tune. However, I’m in the camp that wonders if Leftwich has any particularly distinctive traits (aside from his vocals) that will set apart his music from the rest of the indie folk singer-songwriter crowd.

Have you given a listen to “Just Breathe”? Do you wonder if my opinion holds any weight? Check out “Just Breathe” on YouTube below and find out if you like the tune yourself.

benjamin francis leftwich 3

~ Nastassia

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