Benjamin Francis Leftwich talks touring, Kanye, and having wine with Damien Rice [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

After years of pouring over Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s music, on both sunshine-filled days and blustery winter nights, we finally got what we’ve always wanted. It took six years for us to see him perform, but it was worth every bit of those agonizingly long 2,000+ days.

Before we watched him perform, we, of course, had to spend some time with him to get up to speed with everything that had happened in that lengthy wait. Instead of crafting questions, though, we ended up just talking for a half hour. Nothing was planned, rather just two music nerds talking about life, and everything that comes with it.

TMN: You’re on a tour right now, going through the states, and you’re midway through. How’s the reception been so far?

BFL: It’s been amazing. We did a tour up here in July — a shorter tour. Kind of normal places to play. This time, I’ve played at places I’ve never been to in my life. Mobile, Alabama. San Antonio, Texas. Spent a night in New Mexico. Dallas. Houston. Orlando. Denver, Colorado, where we are now. I really take that stuff very seriously.

Where I’m at as an artist, some nights we’re playing to a lot of people, some nights we’re playing to very, very few. The truth is — I love it all. Even when it’s a few people. Those people have driven so far to be there and I’m so grateful to have them there. It spurs me emotionally as well. I know what it’s like to fall in love with a record.

It’s an amazing feeling and I’m lucky to tour with such a nice group of people. I’ve met some beautiful people. And, so much of the music I’m into is American, or heavily influenced by America in some way. Tom Petty. Springsteen. Even someone like Tallest Man on Earth. He’s one of my favorites. I know he’s Swedish, but he’s influenced by American worlds.
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (January 2017 Round #3)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaAre you getting used to writing 2017 instead of 2016 yet? Do you remember to stop off at the The Music Ninja for a new Indie Dojo every Tuesday? If not, no worries. We’ve got plenty of time to work on both of those things. Just remember, repetition is key and we are always here with a repeat button.

’Decorator – Circles’
’Incan Abraham – In My Bones’
’Louis Schefano – Come To Think’
’Simon Alexander – Phoenix Fire’
’Dom Robinson – Good Love’
’Auditorium – It’s Only God, I Swear’
’Wilderado – Talking About Love To A Cigarette’
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (January 2017 Round #2)

indie-dojo-music-ninja

Think of all the music being uploaded to the internet right at this moment. Now think of all the music you’d be missing if you didn’t land right here on an Indie Dojo today. All wrapped up in a pretty little playlist just for you.

’J. Bernardt – Calm Down’
’girlyboi – Good Looks’
’Soy Xmas – Get Upset’
’Luwten – Go Honey’
’St. Solaire – Morning sun’
’Munro Fox – Walls And Clocks’
’Phoebe Bridgers – Smoke Signals’
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (January 2017 Round #1)

indie-dojo-music-ninjaNew Year. New Music. First Indie Dojo of 2017. This years gonna be a goodin.

’Saint Raymond – Oh Brother’
’WASUREMONO – Kaboom’
’Moons of Mars – Na Na Na’
’Charlie May – Call’
’Charlie Cunningham – Telling It Wrong’
’BEL – Own Home’
’Oxiles – Inside’
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (December 2016 Round #4)

indie-dojo-music-ninja
Here it is. The last Indie Dojo of the year. It’s been a wild ride, dear friends, but here we are. We made it. And we are ready to face another next 365 days with 52 more indie dojos to put in our pocket. Cheers!

’Bad Pony – Bottles’
’Fog Lake – Side Effects’
’Yellow
Days – Gap In The Clouds’
’Wild Front – Rico’
’Alae – All Gived Up’
’Patrick Joseph – Don’t You Know’
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[MP3 Playlist] Indie Dojo (December 2016 Round #3)

indie-dojo-music-ninja

Nothing says “I Love You” or “I Like You” quite like making someone a playlist. So, if you’re one of those, currently scrambling to find a few last minute gifts for those fantastic people in your life, we’ll let you take credit for finding some awesome indie jams and placing it all into a wonderful little playlist for them. After all, it is the season of giving and we love nothing more than a little bit of giving.

’Resin Moon – Catch Me’
’Jesse Taylor – Coastline’
’Julia Anrather – Sweeter Than You’
’Quiet The Pilot
Stick Around Some’
’Jordan Moe – Bridges’
’Rodes Rollins – Young & Thriving’
’Cameron James Henderson – Floating’
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[Indie] New Mystics – Sparrows

New Mystics
Sparrows

Somewhere along Route 66 where decaying service stations quietly rest and rustling tumbleweeds cross regularly, “Sparrows” plays lightly in the background alongside cascading plumes of smoke from a Marlboro Red, the stale smell of old coffee, and rays of sunlight filtering through an aging strip of tint at the top of the windshield.

“Sparrows” brings to mind time-worn images like this.

The funny thing is, it just came out — yesterday, in fact. And already, it’s blanketing me with a delicate sense of nostalgia. I just can’t shake its gripping familiarity in an intriguing new package.

New Mystics and the man behind it are, perhaps appropriately, mysteriously shrouded, so there’s not much to disclose about this artist yet. That said, I’m certain that he has an old soul. The sheer power of these songwriting abilities feels like it would be at home on an old, dusty 45 getting broken out with a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle for one of those special occasions. The verses call on associations of one of the most iconic folk artists, Neil Young, while the choruses give way to memories of listening to Lennon and McCartney.

Its style beckons on the greats of 50 years ago, and the modern twist of the falsetto that floats in before the last run through the chorus brings this song solidly into 2017.

For both young and old music nerds across the globe, New Mystics is one to watch — open road ahead of you or not.

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