Selwyn Birchwood (from the album Pick Your Poison on Alligator Records)

Selwyn Birchwood was a quick learner. Growing up in Orlando, Florida, a younger Selwyn Birchwood picked up the guitar at age thirteen, mimicking music on the radio. His education took a giant leap forward when he heard Jimi Hendrix and followed the sound back to the Blues, becoming deep into the style by age seventeen through the songs of Albert King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and particularly Buddy Guy. At nineteen years-old, Selwyn became part of the backing band for FLA neighbor Sonny Rhodes, who not only mentored the young Bluesman, he took him on the road and held his spot in the group while Selwyn attended college at Rhodes insistence. After receiving his MBA, Selwyn Birchwood created The Selwyn Birchwood Band, self-releasing their debut in 2011. In 2013, at age twenty-eight, Selwyn Birchwood took home the trophy at the International Blues Challenge, receiving the Albert King Guitarist of the Year award at the same event.

Soon after his wins, Alligator Records signed Selwyn Birchwood, releasing his debut (Don’t Call No Ambulance) in 2014. Selwyn Birchwood’s 6’3” frame and huge Afro have been on the road since the release, taking time to record album number two, the recently released Pick Your Poison. Much like Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and other Blues heroes of his youth, Selwyn Birchwood expands on the genre with Pick Your Poison, taking an artistic step forward in his own career by adding to his intuitive Blues nature with touches of hard-edged Rock on the title track, traditional acoustic Blues in “Police State”, and gospel rave-ups with a political message for “Even the Saved Need Saving” as he crawls through Chicago Blues with “Heavy Heart” and orders up a serving of funky rhythm and blues with “Are You Ready?”. Justified kudos have been thrown at Selwyn Birchwood as he receives the crown of a contemporary Bluesman, being dubbed a major player. Pick Your Poison plays as easily as its author takes his accolades as Selwyn Birchwood lights a spark to traditional Hill Country Blues with “Trial by Fire” and tenderly touches “Lost in You”. “Haunted” percolates on a caffeinated groove, “Reaping Time” rumbles on plucked guitar notes and a mighty sax bellow while Pick Your Poison heads uptown on “Corporate Drone” and Selwyn Birchwood swears with a sizzle on a stack of electric amps that “My Whiskey Loves My Ex”.

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