With his fiery guitar and lap steel playing, his instantly memorable songs and gritty, unvarnished vocals, Selwyn Birchwood is among the most extraordinary young stars in the blues. His familiarity with blues tradition allows him to bust the genre wide open, adding new sounds, colors and textures, all delivered with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma.
Since the 2014 release of his Alligator Records debut, Don’t Call No Ambulance, Birchwood’s meteoric rise from playing small Florida clubs to headlining international festival stages is nothing short of phenomenal, as he continues to set the contemporary blues world on fire. The album received the Blues Music Award and Living Blues Critics’ Award for Best Debut Album Of 2014, and he won the 2015 Blues Blast Rising Star Award. With his new album, Pick Your Poison, Birchwood and his band—saxophonist Regi Oliver, bassist Huff Wright and drummer Courtney “Big Love” Girlie—take a major step forward, crafting visionary blues for a new generation of forward-looking fans.
Birchwood’s high-octane blues – at once deeply rooted, funky and up-to-the-minute – are played with passion and honest emotion. With his band feeding off his drive and exuberance, the striking 6’3” young man with his trademark Afro roams the stage (often barefoot), ripping out memorable guitar licks with ease, his soulful, rocks-and-gravel vocals firing up the crowd. His ability to win over an audience – any audience – is 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. “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than playing the blues,” he says. “And I try to convey that with every song and with every performance.”
Pick Your Poison forges new directions for the blues. The Wall Street Journal says he’s “fiery and original.” The Washington Post calls him a “tough, indelibly modern next generation bluesman.” The hard-hitting songs on Pick You Poison, along with his incendiary live performances, prove without a doubt his status as the blues’ most sensational young talent.
FL Boy, 2011
Road Worn, 2013
Don’t Call No Ambulance, 2014
Pick Your Poison, 2017