Benjamin Francis Leftwich - After the Rain
Coming nearly five years after his acclaimed debut, 2011's Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm, Leftwich returns with the deeply personal After the Rain, written after the death of his father. The songs speak of a grief so deep it becomes part of your DNA. The trick is not "getting over it", but instead coming to terms with the loss and grieving that linger inside forever.
What is truly impressive is that the songs are neither depressing nor self-indulgent. They speak of the strength in surmounting the insurmountable. In the lovely 'Groves' Leftwich sings "don't go, I need you to be waiting for me...". The restless urgency of album opener ‘Tilikum’, sung in Leftwich's breathy voice, is heartbreaking as the singer describes the heartache of watching his father die. Elsewhere the album is about the aftermath - the presence that is no longer there yet can still be felt, as with the passionate 'Immortal' or the surprisingly upbeat 'Mayflies' whose bouncy tempo belies the sadness beneath: "I don't want to talk about it, afraid of what I'm gonna do." The album closes with the short and sweet 'Just As I Was Waking Up', with just Leftwich and an acoustic guitar; the melody like a lullaby, the vocals beautiful and heartfelt as if this were the final goodbye: "Just as I was waking up, I hear that you leaving. Too bad I didn't call you up. I know not the reason."
Benjamin Francis Leftwich has delivered a real triumph, an album of grief and loss that is both heartbreaking yet comforting and beautiful as well. These song will speak to everyone who has gone through such loss, a true testimony of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.