Selwyn Birchwood – Exorcist: Album Review

Selwyn Birchwood releases his 4th album from Alligator Records, which  will rejuvenate your love of blues, providing a fresh outlook on blues music as well as satisfy your traditional blues tastes. 

Release date:  9th June 2023

Label: Alligator Records 

Format:  CD / LP

Having seen Selwyn Birchwood perform at the Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne and been totally blown away by his expertise it was no surprise to discover that he is now  part of the infamous Alligator Records blues stable who not only record and distribute a wealth of blues talent but also develop and nurture young blues artists. They can surely count Selwyn as one of their biggest successes and in some quarters he has been tagged a ‘blues master’.

Given that he has been inspired by many famous blues masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins it is no surprise that the burgeoning talent first recognised by Sonny Rhodes, who was instantly impressed, has now gained international recognition. 

Sonny always said: “Play what’s in your heart. I’ve never lost sight of that,” says Birchwood and that is what distinctly comes through on this superb blues album. 

It was after seeing Buddy Guy that Selwyn saw his future. At Colne he even replicated Buddy’s yen for mingling with the audience whilst playing,  yet in his case as he does on stage, remains barefooted. But Selwyn doesn’t copy he creates with his own distinctive energetic, forceful voice and style of playing. On this album, we hear a whole ‘mess of blues,’ raunchy, funky , rocky, jazzy. His lyrics touch your soul, your heart and even amuse. Horns Below Her Halo being a prime example.

Woeful love songs of varying degrees like Exorcist, as well as reflections on his own experience, (Underdog), and observational songs such as Florida Man adorn this album. Try to play like him and you’ll burn your fingers. Try to dance along and you’ll need an ice bucket to cool your feet! But the playing, whether on his lap guitar or strutting a guitar around the stage will soar you up to the mountain tops with his exquisite licks. Whether you are a traditionalist or seeking something original this  “Electric Swamp Funkin’ Blues,” as he names it, is Swamp Funkin’ brilliant!!

Selwyn Birchwood: Website / Facebook / YouTube / Instagram / Bandcamp

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