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Selwyn Birchwood

Suncoast Blues Festival Line Up and Free Concert Series

| Sande Caplin |

It’s getting closer to The Suncoast Blues Festival being held Jan 27 and 28 at The Sarasota Fairgrounds and before you know it we’ll be ready to rock in the new year with the best in blues bands.

According to Greg Herndon, owner of Mojoe Productions and producer of the Blues Fest, “We wanted to give people the opportunity to see national acts they otherwise wouldn’t catch …and we’ve piled up a bunch on one bill – Yee Haw!” 

But wait. Greg and his wife Roseanne are giving fans something else to whet their blues appetites before the show…

Free Concert Series
Mark your calendar for the FREE concert series blues shows at Evie’s Tavern on the Range (a Blues Fest sponsor) prior to the main event. On Friday, Dec. 9, Justin Layman will be playing from 6 to 9 p.m. Then, The Allstar Blues Band will be blastin’ the blues from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25th.  Located at 4735 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, Evie’s has a delicious late-night menu and family-fun activities.  

You won’t want to miss ANY of these acts this year. On Friday: Balkun Brothers, Kat Riggins and Chris Duarte. Saturday: Tommy Z, Charles Wilson, Annika Chambers, Studebaker John, Dwayne Dopsie and Selwyn Birchwood have signed up to give us all they’ve got.

Balkun Brothers
After coming onto the music scene with their powerful brand of psychedelic rock n’ roll, Balkun Brothers are now creating a style of music all their own with an integrated mix of blues, funk and rock. Founding members Steve Balkun (guitar/vocals) and Nick “The Hammer” Balkun (drums/vocals) are gaining followers across the world. They’ve been featured alongside Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa, Iggy Pop, Gogol Bordello, Vapors of Morphine, Motley Crüe, Slayer, Eric Sardinas, Dopapod, James Cotton, and many more.

Kat Riggins Band
Kat Riggins wants everyone to feel what she feels whenever she sings the blues. With talent such as hers, that’s an easy task, and she’s sho’ nuff headin’ up a “Blues Revival!

Chris Durante
It’s hard to find a singer/songwriter/guitarist that has as much variety as Chris. From Hendrix leanings to pop, jazz and rock, Chris still fits it all into the blues genre. On the road for 20 years, his passionate psychedelia/blues/jazz jams are intense. The band’s motto is: “We’re here to play our asses off…” Don’t wanna miss that.

Tommy Z
Tommy debuts on Billboard Blues top 10 album chart and has earned the number one spot on Blues-Rock album chart with a number one blues rock song. He’s number one on Amazon’s Electric blues guitar chart and in the top 10 on iTunes Blues Chart. It’s sexy, bluesy, fret-board magic and blues guitar played the way it should be.

Charles Wilson
Charles Wilson was raised in Chicago, began performing at age seven and started singing as a teenager in Chicago area nightclubs. Since then he’s released 12 albums and continues to grow. Blessed with a unique soul voice, Wilson has become a fixture on the Southern Soul circuit and his R&B melodies are sexy and provocative.

Annika Chambers
The first female to hit this year’s fest stage, Annika is as soulful as she is beautiful. Hailing from Houston, TX, she’ll be showcasing her up and climbing hits from her debut CD Making My Mark. Annika earned the 2013 Houston Press Award for Best Female Vocals and she and her band are psyched to hit the Sarasota scene with a different kind of southern blues.

John Studebaker
The legendary blues man has a new CD he’s showcasing – Eternity’s Descent – his 18th album of all original tunes. This veteran of blues leaves no stone unturned as his music is featured in commercials, movies and T.V. shows. John hails from Chicago where he started playing harmonica at age 7. As a songwriter and musician, John is a major force in the national blues scene.

Dwayne Dopsie
Duane has developed his own high-energy style that defies stereotypes and blazes a distinct path for current Zydeco music. This infectious singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting with his band the Zydeco Hellraisers and brings a touch of New Orleans to Sarasota.

Selwyn Birchwood
Selwyn Birchwood is an American blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter from Tampa and winner of the Blues Foundation’s 2013 International Blues Challenge in the band category; winner of the Albert King Guitarist of the Year award, presented at the same event, beating out 125 other bands from around the world.  Selwyn plays both electric guitar and electric lap steel guitar. His live performances feature his original songs. Living Blues magazine said, “Selwyn Birchwood is making waves, surprising people and defying expectations. Be on the lookout. He revels in the unexpected.”  The Tampa Tribune said Birchwood plays with “power and precision reminiscent of blues guitar hero Buddy Guy. He is a gritty vocalist who is commanding with his axe.” Rolling Stone said “Birchwood is a young, powerhouse guitarist and soulful vocalist. His album, ‘Don’t Call No Ambulance’ is a remarkable debut by a major player.” The Washington Post said, “Selwyn Birchwood is an indelibly modern and original next-generation bluesman; his tough vocals, guitar and lap steel touch on classic Chicago blues, Southern soul and boogie.”

You can listen to and learn more about these super stars on the event’s website at And check out YouTube: ;

Suncoast Blues Festival

Tickets on Friday are $15 advance, $20 gate; Saturday $25 advance, $30 gate.
Purchase your tickets at or at the following locations:

American Momentum Bank: 5221 Clark Road; 5851 Fruitville Road; 3939 McIntosh Road; 544 S Washington Blvd.; and San Marco Plaza, 9121 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch.

Lakewood Ranch-Classic World Travel, 8346 Market Street, Lakewood Ranch.

Fogt’s Music Center, 4209 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Family Promise of Sarasota, 2185 Wood Street, Suite 7, Sarasota.

Dragon Headz, 420 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota

For more information on this fabulous festival, visit And don’t miss it!

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