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Selwyn Birchwood’s young enough to be unburdened by blues tradition

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Selwyn Birchwood, Pick Your Poison
  • Selwyn Birchwood, Pick Your Poison
Much of what passes for modern-day blues features either rock-based electric guitar shredding over a 12-bar foundation, or tired arrangements that have as much to do with the blues as the lounge in an airport hotel. As a result, exceptions truly stand out from the pack. One such artist is Orlando-based Selwyn Birchwood. He’s young enough to be unburdened by tradition, yet wise enough to draw from it when appropriate. Pick Your Poison, Birchwood’s fourth album — and second on a major label — showcases the guitarist’s facility on vocals, guitars and songwriting (all 13 cuts are originals). He demonstrates both an understanding of the ways in which other genres — especially gospel — can inform the blues on cuts like the rousing “Even the Saved Need Saving,” and displays a knowing sense of humor on “My Whiskey Loves My Ex.”
File next to: Johnny Winter, Albert Collins

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