Make every weekend epic with our free Weekender newsletter. Sign up today!

Selwyn Birchwood: young and blue

If Selwyn Birchwood is singing the blues now, wait until he gets old and his body starts to fall apart.

Birchwood, 29, will appear in Delray Beach Tuesday to introduce his first blues album. He already has quite the resume: Birchwood won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2013, and he also took home the Albert King Guitarist of the Year award.

He says he expects to get better because of his love for the blues.

"Ultimately, as happy as I get listening to my favorite band, that's what I want to convey to those listening to me," Birchwood says. "If I can give them a centimeter of how happy I get, it's a good day."

Birchwood was born in England, but graduated from Lake Howell High in Orlando. He developed a love for blues, which deepened as he attended the University of Central Florida and, later, the University of Tampa, where he pursued an MBA at the urging of blues artist Sonny Rhodes.

"People my age never understood why I listened to what I listened to and why I played what I did," Birchwood says. "But I relate to it a lot more than the club music and the crap on the radio. It's just more relatable to hear a story and to know it's a true story."

Naturally, he has a fondness for the blues legends who came before him. "I listen to some of these records, and they're like artifacts, and it's very intriguing to me," he says. "Then, when we get up to play, I get to tell my story and people find out where I'm coming from. That's a cool thing."

Of his new album, "Don't Call No Ambulance," Birchwood says, "I think it's a good representation of the band, and I'm excited for people to hear it."

He acknowledges the idea that "competitive music" is a difficult concept, but 2013 marked his third trip to the Memphis competition. "It's like putting two painters side by side," he says. "It's a hard thing to do, but I'm glad we did it."

The Delray Beach release party for “Don’t Call No Ambulance” will be the third this month in Florida. Fans on Tuesday will see a "pretty energetic show," Birchwood says.

"We don't sit around and stand flatfooted," he says. "We try to get the crowd involved, and put on a show."

Birchwood makes for quite the visual, a 6-foot-3 guitarist who says he is more comfortable playing barefoot, and often kicks off his shoes during shows.

"I personally just don't really like wearing shoes," he says. "I usually have sandals on, or I'm barefoot. And when I can, I do the same at concerts."

Selwyn Birchwood will perform 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at Boston's on the Beach, 40 S. Ocean Blvd., in Delray Beach. Admission is $10. Call 561-278-3364cq or go to

Copyright © 2018, South Florida