Selwyn Birchwood is part of a wave of millennial bluesmen who keep the fire burning without indulging in nostalgia, and who make the music feel fresh without pandering to trends.
Unlike some peers like Gary Clark, Jr. and Benjamin Booker, Birchwood rose up through a familiar blues circuit, earning awards from the Blues Foundation and Living Blues before signing with Alligator Records in 2014. At that point, Birchwood was just shy of his 30th birthday. He was born on March 9, 1985 in Orlando, Florida to a mother from the United Kingdom and a father from Tobago. Birchwood started playing guitar as a teenager, gravitating to the blues after discovering Jimi Hendrix. Just after graduating high school, he joined the touring band of Sonny Rhodes, and he stayed in the group while attending college at the University of Tampa. After receiving an M.B.A., Birchwood formed the Selwyn Birchwood Band, whose lineup would eventually coalesce with drummer Courtney "Big Love" Girlie, bassist Donald Wright, and saxophonist Regi Oliver. The group independently released two albums -- 2011's FL Boy and 2013's Road Worn -- prior to winning the 2013 International Blues Challenge award. Their performance earned the attention of Bruce Iglauer, the head of Alligator Records, who signed Birchwood that year. Don't Call No Ambulance, Birchwood's debut for Alligator, appeared in 2014; it won Best New Artist Album at the 2015 Blues Music Awards. His second album, Pick Your Poison, arrived in 2017. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi