Selwyn Birchwood, Floridas rising young blues fireball, is a guitar and lap steel playing bundle of pure energy. He delivers his original songs with a revival tent preachers fervor and a natural storytellers charisma made all the more impactful by his raw, unvarnished vocals. Birchwood plays high-octane bluesat once deeply rooted, funky and up-to-the-minutewith true passion and honest emotion. With his band feeding off his drive and exuberance, the striking 63 29-year-old with his trademark Afro roams the stage (often barefoot), ripping out memorable guitar licks with ease. His ability to win over an audienceany audienceis proven night after night on the bandstand. With his warm, magnetic personality, Birchwood is as down-to-earth as his music is fun, thought-provoking and vital. His mission is to spread his music far and wide, to share his joy, to play his heart out, and to push the blues into the future. Theres nothing Id rather be doing than playing the blues, he says. And I try to convey that with every song and with every performance.
In 2013, Birchwood catapulted from local hero to shooting star. He won the world-renowned International Blues Challenge, beating out 125 other bands from the U.S. and abroad. He also took home the Albert King Guitarist Of The Year Award. It wasnt long before Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer offered Birchwood a contract. His debut album, Dont Call No Ambulance, is a fully realized vision of contemporary blues. Birchwoods original songs range from raucous romps to hill country stomps, from searing, serious slow blues to modern blues rock. Between his uninhibited sense of fun and adventure and his serious-as-a-heart-attack musicianship, Dont Call No Ambulance is a window into the future of the blues. All originals and no filler, he says of the album. Its that genuineness of emotion in the songs that people can hear.
The Tampa Tribune says Birchwood plays with power and precision reminiscent of blues guitar hero Buddy Guy. He is a gritty vocalist [who is] commanding with his axe. According to Iglauer, Birchwood is the real deal. Selwyn Birchwood is a terrific young blues talent with a huge future. He writes smart, infectious, fresh songs and delivers them with a warm, conversational vocal style and a fun-loving attitude. Hes a killer guitarist, switching between a regular six-string and lap steel. Live, hes a ball of energy, interacting with the audience like they were in his living room. Selwyn is destined to be one of the next stars in the blues world.
The Selwyn Birchwood Band has been touring non-stop since winning the IBC. The band has performed at festivals including The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Springing The Blues Festival, The Tampa Bay Blues Festival, The North Atlantic Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival as well as on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. Birchwood has opened for major blues stars including Robert Cray and Buddy Guy and has shared the stage with another friend and teacher, Joe Louis Walker (who guests on Dont Call No Ambulances "The River Turned Red"). He recently had the opportunity, when performing in San Francisco, to bring his friend and mentor Sonny Rhodes on stage to sit in with his band. It was a moment Birchwood will never forget. He did so much for me; it was a real honor to return the favor, if only a little.
With Dont Call No Ambulance, Selwyn Birchwood steps onto the world stage, bringing a new wave of blues to a new generation of blues fans. If I can play my music, travel the world, bring happiness to people, then Im blessed and happy, he says. Its like Sonny always told me, If you follow your heart, youll always get what you want.
A genius revelation and a pleasure...roaring guitar and down-home lap steel Blues Matters
Selwyn Birchwood is making waves, surprising people and defying expectations. Be on the lookout. He revels in the unexpected. Living Blues