North Craven musician Ben Avison has launched his debut album.

And he will play at a concert at Poppies Tearooms in Settle next Thursday, December 27.

His album, Good Day Mr Magpie, features 10 original songs and includes a guest appearance from his friend and mentor Rise Kagona, of the Bhundu Boys.

Its release is the result of a Christmas present from his girlfriend Rose Haines last year, which was a week in Stonegate Studio, Bentham, with producer Sam Lawrence, of the band Wilful Missing.

He recorded the guitar and vocal parts for the songs over four days in February and then added overdubs from other musicians, including Sam, Laura Brown and Jen Haines.

“The album has a warm, intimate acoustic sound, influenced by Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Velvet Underground and Nick Drake,” said Ben. “The song Good Day Mr Magpie is about keeping sorrow at bay – as in the superstition.”

The sleeve features original artwork by award-winning Settle artist Sam Dalby.

Ben attended Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton and played the guitar in local bands before going to Edinburgh University to study English. He became a journalist, working mostly in London but including a short stint at the Craven Herald in 2003.

However, he said his heart had always been in music and he continued writing and performing in various bands. “My aspiration is to continue to find creativity and inspiration in daily life, which is where these songs came about (mostly written while commuting to work) and to keep learning from the great musicians and songwriters that I meet along the way,” said Ben who now lives on a boat in Oxford.

“I just want to remain as happy as I am right now – by keeping that balance between life and work, imagination and reality and staying in touch with my roots and family.”

The Poppies concert starts at 7.30pm and proceeds will be donated to Bentham Pet Rescue.