Selwyn Birchwood

Birchwood was Birchwood’s father from Tobago and his mother from the UK. He was born in Orlando, Florida in 1985. At the age of 13, he picked up a guitar and quickly became adept at imitating what he heard on radio. He quickly became bored by the popular 1990s grunge, hip-hop, and metal music. He then heard Jimi Hendrix. He was bigger than life. His genius was astounding. He says, “When I realized that Hendrix was heavily influenced by blues music, I found my way.” At the age of 17, he was deeply into blues and listening to Albert King (Freddie King), Muddy Waters (Muddy Waters), Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy waters, Muddy waters, Muddy Woods, and Buddy Guy. Birchwood discovered Guy just as luck would have it. The concert was in Orlando. Birchwood was right there, front and centre. He recalls being “floored” “I was completely in tune with the blues. “I knew that I had to create this music. A friend of Selwyn’s told him that his neighbor was an accomplished guitarist who had a band. Selwyn, 19, went over to the band and jammed. The neighbor who played guitar was actually Texas blues legend Sonny Rhodes. He was immediately impressed by the young guitarist slinger. In just one month, Rhodes asked Birchwood if he would pack his bags and go on the road with him. Birchwood had an amazing experience as Rhodes took him under his wing and taught him how to run a band, conduct business and reach audiences. “Sonny always said that you should play what is in your heart. Birchwood says that he has never lost sight of this. Rhodes insisted that Birchwood attend college. He also kept the guitar position in his band open for Selwyn whenever possible. It was a win-win situation, as Birchwood–through hard work and scholarships–received his MBA from The University of Tampa. Birchwood said, “I was determined to earn that degree.” It’s no longer enough to be a good musician these days. Birchwood combined the business skills and musical lessons from Rhodes to create The Selwyn Birchwood Band, which was formed in 2010. It featured veteran musicians older that Selwyn. This is a testament to Selwyn’s leadership abilities and musical chops. They are able to play off one another on stage with ease and share their energy with the audience. The band’s self-released FL Boy in 2011 helped them land gigs beyond their Tampa base. They were quickly becoming local legends. Birchwood and his group won spots at the 2012 International Blues Challenges in Memphis. They took ninth place in 2012 and were determined to win the 2013 International Blues Challenges in Memphis. Bruce Iglauer, president of Alligator Records, was at the judges’ table. “I saw Selwyn’s potential in 2012. He firmly believes that he deserved to win the 2013 competition. Birchwood was able to open more doors, increase his visibility, and help the band secure a deal with Intrepid Artists, which resulted in more gigs and more opportunities. Selwyn Birchwood made his international debut with his Alligator Records album, Don’t Call No Ambulance. This album represents a fully realized vision for contemporary blues. Between his uninhibited sense of fun and adventure and his serious-as-a-heart-attack musicianship, Don’t Call No Ambulance opened a door into a bright future for the blues. From Rolling Stone to The Wall Street Journal to The Chicago Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle, rave reviews were published. Since before Alligator’s debut, the Selwyn Birchwood Band has been on tour non-stop. The band has performed at many festivals, including The Chicago Blues Festival and The Waterfront Blues Festival.

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