ALLIGATOR RECORDS SIGNS 2013 INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE WINNER – SELWYN BIRCHWOOD
DON’T CALL NO AMBULANCE SET FOR JUNE 2014 RELEASE
“Watch out for Selwyn Birchwood…a genius revelation and a pleasure.
Roaring Fender Strat and down-south lap steel guitar” –Blues Matters
Alligator Records is pleased to announce the signing of Florida’s rising young blues star, Selwyn Birchwood, the winner (in a field of over 125 other bands) of the 2013 International Blues Challenge. Birchwood is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy who delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma. He plays high-octane blues — at once deeply rooted, funky and up-to-the-minute — with true passion and honest emotion. Living Blues says, “Selwyn Birchwood is making waves, surprising people and defying expectations. Be on the lookout. He revels in the unexpected.” His label debut, Don’t Call No Ambulance, is set for a June 2014 release.
Don’t Call No Ambulance is a fully realized vision of contemporary blues. Birchwood’s original songs range from raucous romps to hill country stomps, from searing, serious slow blues to modern blues rock. Between his uninhibited sense of fun and adventure and his serious-as-a-heart-attack musicianship, Don’t Call No Ambulance is a window into the future of the blues. “All originals and no filler,” he says of the album. “It’s that genuineness of emotion in the songs that people can hear.”
In 2013, Birchwood catapulted from local hero to shooting star. In addition to winning the world-renowned International Blues Challenge, Birchwood also took home the Albert King Guitarist Of The Year Award. It wasn’t long before Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer offered Birchwood a contract.
The Tampa Tribune says Birchwood plays with “power and precision reminiscent of blues guitar hero Buddy Guy. He is a gritty vocalist [who is] commanding with his axe.” According to Iglauer, Birchwood is the real deal. “Selwyn Birchwood is a terrific young blues talent with a huge future. He writes smart, infectious, fresh songs and delivers them with a warm, conversational vocal style and a fun-loving attitude. He’s a killer guitarist, switching between a regular six-string and lap steel. Live, he’s a ball of energy, interacting with the audience like they were in his living room. Selwyn is destined to be one of the next stars in the blues world.”
The Selwyn Birchwood Band has been touring non-stop since winning the IBC. The band has performed at festivals including The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Springing The Blues Festival, The Tampa Bay Blues Festival, The North Atlantic Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival as well as on The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. Birchwood has opened for major blues stars including Robert Cray and Buddy Guy and has shared the stage with another friend and teacher, Joe Louis Walker (who guests on Don’t Call No Ambulance’s The River Turned Red). He recently had the opportunity, when performing in San Francisco, to bring his friend and mentor Sonny Rhodes on stage to sit in with his band. It was a moment Birchwood will never forget. “He did so much for me; it was a real honor to return the favor, if only a little.”
With Don’t Call No Ambulance, Selwyn Birchwood steps onto the world stage, bringing a new wave of blues to a new generation of blues fans. “If I can play my music, travel the world, bring happiness to people, then I’m blessed and happy,” he says. “It’s like Sonny always told me, ‘If you follow your heart, you’ll always get what you want.'”