The only immediately accessible photo of Washington, D.C., bard Benjy Ferree is a creepy one: His face is rather rectangular and unshaven, the look in his eye a bit cold and distant. A not-so-comforting Iron & Wine. At 32, he's had some failed life experiencesmostly in La La Land, where, instead of becoming the actor he set out to be, he settled for being a nanny for David Lynch. But this debut isn't trying to cash in on that "misery loves company" sound and sentiment. In fact, Leaving the Nest sounds surprisingly optimistic. Ferree has an affinity for bluesy, acoustic arrangements accented at times with strings or sing-along harmonies to make it pretty. Sure, he favors abstract, metaphorical love songs of sorts, but Benjy is probably better-adjusted than we're led to believe. He's quite playful on the harmonica-driven "Hollywood Sign" and the hand-holder "Why Bother." "Dog Killers!" is the lone wolf of the set, a straight and narrow rocker that gets Benjy's voice quivering at times, reminiscent of a mellower Jack White. Love it or hate it, we might have another prolific beard guy on our hands.
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