Guitarist Selwyn Birchwood

"A powerhouse player and emotive performer…his band, his material and both his skilled guitaring and soulful vocals are the essence of fully-formed. Birchwood is a major player. Highly recommended."
--Rolling Stone

With his fiery guitar and lap steel playing, his trailblazing, instantly memorable songs and gritty, unvarnished vocals, Selwyn Birchwood is among the most extraordinary young stars in the blues. His deep 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. Selwyn and his band have crisscrossed the U.S. and Europe repeatedly, delivering unforgettable live performances. With his new album, Pick Your Poison, Birchwood, along with his band—saxophonist Regi Oliver, bassist Huff Wright and drummer Courtney "Big Love" Girlie—takes a major step forward, crafting visionary blues for a new generation of forward-looking fans.

Birchwood, who attacks his guitar and lap steel with searing intensity, wrote and produced all 13 songs on Pick Your Poison. His richly detailed, hard-hitting originals run the emotional gamut from the humorously personal "My Whiskey Loves My Ex" to the gospel-inflected "Even The Saved Need Saving" to the hard truths of the topical "Corporate Drone" and "Police State" to the existential choice of the title track. The cutting-edge songs are made all the more impactful by Birchwood's gruff vocals, his untamed musicianship and his band's seemingly telepathic accompaniment. "I write and sing what I know," says Birchwood, whose innovations are as expansive as his influences. "This album has a broad reach. It's for young, old and everyone in between."

Courtesy of

Guitarist Selwyn Birchwood

Scott - Hi Selwyn, Hey man.... Thank you so much for taking the time out to do an interview with me and my Guitarz site.  I hope all is well with you... Give all our loyal readers and peeps an update with what’s been going on with you in your musical world these days and a short but descriptive label of your style of guitar playing and the types of music you like playing.

Selwyn - I'm a music lover of all kinds at heart, but have a deep appreciation and love for Blues at the core. I hope to be able to find a way to blend it with some of my other loves of funk, soul, jazz, country and other types of music to find what I could more closely call, "my own sound," eventually.

Scott - OK, now for your music … What is the name of the current Album you are promoting at the moment? How did the music come about?

Selwyn - We released our second album for Alligator Records earlier this year called "Pick Your Poison." The music is a compilation of 13 songs that we wrote over the past 2 years on the road.

Scott - What are your personal highlights on the new album? Why?

Selwyn - I wanted to focus on songwriting and be able to record the songs as organically as possible with just voices and instruments. I'm really excited with how it turned out and we've had an IMMENSE response to it this year!It debuted at #6 on the Billboard Blues Chart and was on and off the Top 10 for its first 5 weeks released.

Scott - So where is your stomp'n ground?

Selwyn - I was born and rasied in FLorida.

Scott - Are there a lot of places to play your style of music in and around your area? If so, could you name some venues?

Selwyn - There is actually a pretty thriving Blues scene in Florida, especially on the West coast and southern parts of the state. There's a place in Sanford, FL called The Alley Blues Bar which is where i really got my start playing live.

Scott - What was it about the electric guitar that inspired you to play it?

Selwyn - I had always been drawn to the instrument even from when I was a child.

Scott - What type of guitars do you play and why?

Selwyn - My main guitar is a Gibson 335. The blonde one that I play at my shows is actually the one that I won at The International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2013 for the "Albert King Award." I also play a player-built Fender Telecaster and early 50's Gibson lap-steel guitar in my live shows.

Scott - What type of amps do you use? Do you use different amps for the studio vs live shows?

Selwyn - Believe it or not, my main amp is just a tweed 1x12 Blues Junior. I don't like using all the pedals and electronics and stuff, i find all the sounds that I want, plugged straight into that amp. That is the main one that I used for recording almost every song on Pick Your Poison as well.

Scott - Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

Selwyn - One of my biggest influences is Buddy Guy. I saw him perform live when I was 17 and was blown away. I had never seen or heard someone play and sing with such intensity before that time. I decided that night that whatever it was that I experienced that night was what I wanted to learn and what I wanted to do with my life. My next greatest influence was Texas bluesman and lap steel player Sonny Rhodes who picked me up to tour in his band when I was 19. I toured with him off and on for 5 years all over the U.S. and Canada before leaving to focus more on my own band/music.

Scott - Who are you listening to these days?

Selwyn - My ears are always changing and evolving. I always have a steady rotation of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker through my player, but have been listening to alot of Chris Cain and jazz players as of late..

Scott - Has the music business model of today helped you or hindered you?

Selwyn - I still haven't figured out exactly what the music business is today.. We are just trying to write the best songs that we can and record them the best we can and leave everything on the stage during our live performances. I think everything else might fall into place if we continue to do that.

Scott - Please give us some top musical goals you would like to achieve in 2018.

Selwyn - I don't have too many musical goals really. I am always just focused on keeping my ears on the music that I love and trying to practice to eventually get to that level one day.

Scott - Do you embrace online social networking? Why?

Selwyn - Absolutely. It is a great tool to keep in touch with our fanbase and keep them updated.
Scott - Where can we buy your music?

Selwyn - You can buy our music at:

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