8pm – $12/15
Selwyn Birchwood Band (BLUES)
Selwyn Birchwood, Florida’s rising young blues fireball, is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy. He delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma made all the more impactful by his raw, unvarnished vocals. Birchwood plays high-octane blues – at once deeply rooted, funky and up-to-the-minute – with true passion and honest emotion. With his band feeding off his drive and exuberance, the striking 6’3” 29-year-old with his trademark Afro roams the stage (often barefoot), ripping out memorable guitar licks with ease. His ability to win over an audience – any audience – is proven night after night on the bandstand. With his warm, magnetic personality, Birchwood is as down-to-earth as his music is fun, thought-provoking and vital. His mission is to spread his music far and wide, to share his joy, to play his heart out, and to push the blues into the future. “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than playing the blues,” he says. “And I try to convey that with every song and with every performance.”
In 2013, Birchwood catapulted from local hero to shooting star. He won the world-renowned International Blues Challenge, beating out 125 other bands from the U.S. and abroad. He also took home the Albert King Guitarist Of The Year Award. It wasn’t long before Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer offered Birchwood a contract. His debut album, Don’t Call No Ambulance, is a fully realized vision of contemporary blues. Birchwood’s original songs range from raucous romps to hill country stomps, from searing, serious slow blues to modern blues rock. Between his uninhibited sense of fun and adventure and his serious-as-a-heart-attack musicianship, Don’t Call No Ambulance is a window into the future of the blues. “All originals and no filler,” he says of the album. “It’s that genuineness of emotion in the songs that people can hear.”
Rolling Stone said “Birchwood is a powerhouse player and emotive performer whose work respects blues tradition but could not be more contemporary… Birchwood is a major player.” According to Iglauer, Birchwood is the real deal. “Selwyn Birchwood is a terrific young blues talent with a huge future. He writes smart, infectious, fresh songs and delivers them with a warm, conversational vocal style and a fun-loving attitude. He’s a killer guitarist, switching between a regular six-string and lap steel. Live, he’s a ball of energy, interacting with the audience like they were in his living room. Selwyn is destined to be one of the next stars in the blues world.”
Josh Miller Blues Revue (BLUES)
Anyone who’s spent even the briefest evening in Cocoa Beach is familiar with local Bluesman Josh Miller. They’ve been drawn into local venues by his inimitable sound and dynamic energy, and regardless of previous and conveniently forgotten plans, they manage to close out the night backed by the incredible soundtrack he and his band churn out. There’s just no escaping it. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again : Miller plays bonafide Blues. The beach scene can be pretty notorious for playing host to under-par “Blues” musicians more intent on channeling a laid-back, cobbled-together sound informed by Buffet and CCR than that of the true, rootbound practitioners. The thing that sets Miller apart is his devotion to the long lineage of Blues musicians who smoothed out the gravelly path he trods, and an evening’s performance can play out like an aural history of the Blues’ past, while offering a telescopic view into the genre’s far-off future.