Hanging In The Van With Selwyn Birchwood
France, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Memphis, TN, Calgary, Canada, Chattanooga, TN, Rochester, NY, Rochester, MN, Buffalo, NY, Falls Church, VA and many more cities. No it’s not a concert tour for Madonna, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, or Bruno Mars. These are just some of the countries and cities that the Selwyn Birchwood Band will be performing at over the next few months.
Last night, Selwyn and the band played at the Blue Rooster on 4th Street in Sarasota. It’s one of my favorite music and eating establishments. I asked Selwyn if he would spend a couple of minutes with me and share some of his thoughts. He said “sure, let’s hop in my van”! We walked outside and got into his traveling van and started talking. I learned a lot in the short amount of time that we had. A lot has been written about Selwyn and the band….I hope to share some new stuff here.
Selwyn picked up his first guitar at the age of 13 and it did not take him long to become a real good player! For the next 5-6 years he worked hard learning and writing songs….Blues songs. It’s well known that at the age of 19 Selwyn was able to meet and play with legendary blues man, Sonny Rhodes. Rhodes immediately took a liking to Selwyn as a guitar player and a person. He told Selwyn that there would always be a place for him when he wanted to play but education comes first…..and he meant it! I learned last night that Selwyn has a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida and Masters degree from The University of Tampa in Business Administration. How awesome! A musician and a scholar.
The Selwyn Birchwood Band performed in the 2012 and 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. They won the competition in 2013! Selwyn told me that the morning after they won he was on the phone with agents, venues and record companies. He wasn’t wasting any time! That’s where his business degrees came into play! He now has a record deal with Alligator records.
The band has been touring just about non-stop ever since winning the IBC’s. Last night, baritone sax player Regi Oliver, bassist, Donald “Huff” Wright and drummer Courtney G (“Big Love”) put on quite a show to a packed house. They crowd was dancing in the aisles!
I walked away from the interview with such a great feeling. Selwyn is not only a nice person; he’s a hard worker and has the formal education to back everything up. I am excited for him and the band. The future is outstanding. I am glad I got to know him better last night.
Thank you, Selwyn Birchwood for the opportunity to talk with you! You are a fine young man.
photos by Laura Adams