Selwyn Birchwood

Selwyn Birchwood plays Skipper’s Smokehouse Dec. 11.

TAMPA — Selwyn Birchwood will perform Friday, June 24, 8 p.m., at Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Call 813-971-0666 or visit www.skipperssmokehouse.com.

Birchwood recently won the 2022 Blues Music Award for Song of the Year for “I'd Climb Mountains” from his latest release, “Living in a Burning House.” He calls his music “electric swamp funkin’ blues,” defined by raw and soulful musicianship played with fire-and-brimstone fervor. Birchwood’s gritty, unvarnished vocals draw his audience deep inside his tales of love, passion, pain and pleasure. 

Birchwood, a Florida native, released “Living in a Burning House” in January 2021. The guitar and lap steel player leads a unique band on the contemporary blues scene.

“With my music, I tell my stories in my own way, with my own voice,” Birchwood said. “You won’t ever hear me on stage telling someone else’s stories. Muddy Waters, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker all told their own stories. That’s what I’m doing.” 

In addition to Birchwood’s electrifying guitar and lap-steel playing, the other featured instrument is Regi Oliver’s baritone sax. The group is rounded out by bass, drums and newly added keyboards. 

“With the keyboards, it’s like we’re a whole new band with a bigger footprint,” Birchwood said. “I can really stretch out on guitar while still featuring the baritone.” 

With his band feeding off his energy, the 6’3” musician with his trademark Afro roams the stage — often barefoot — ripping out memorable guitar licks with ease. Birchwood also has released two previous albums through Alligator Records, and he has countless performances under his belt.

In 2013, Birchwood and his band won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, besting 150 other bands.

The win led to more success, and in 2014 Birchwood had signed with Alligator Records. “Don’t Call No Ambulance,” his first Alligator album, earned rave reviews in publications from Rolling Stone to The Wall Street Journal. The album won both the Living Blues Award and the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. He followed in 2016 with “Pick Your Poison.”

“I write and sing what I know,” said Birchwood. With “Living in a Burning House,” the bluesman is looking forward to winning over thousands of new fans. “They say everything is better when it’s made with love,” Birchwood added. “That’s how we play our music and that’s how we made the new album. I want my audience to say, ‘I know exactly what that feels like,’ when a song hits them. Because that’s when it stops just being music and starts being medicine. After all, we are all stricken with the condition of being human.”