Review: Selwyn Birchwood – Don’t Call No Ambulance
Posted on: Friday, Aug 1, 2014
Selwyn Birchwood – Don’t Call No Ambulance
(Alligator Records ALCD 4961)
Selwyn Birchwood is a 29 year-old singer/guitarist from Florida and the composer of all twelve tracks on the album. He is backed by Regi Oliver on a range of saxophones and flute, Donald ‘Huff’ Wright on bass and Curtis Nuttall on drums. Birchwood and his band were the winners of the 2013 International Blues Challenge, beating 125 competitors to win the award.
The album leaps into action with the hard-driven “Addicted” with a guest appearance by Josh Nelmes on rhythm guitar. It is followed by an excellent boogie in the shape of the title track and “Walking In The Lion’s Den”, a shuffle, enriched with a a fine sax solo. “The River Turned Red” is an upbeat rocker, which features an abundance of slashing, slide guitar from second guest artiste, Joe Louis Walker.
“Love Me Again” is a bluesy ballad, which delivers some appropriately wistful guitar work. The lap steel-drenched “Tell Me Why” gives way to the Delta blues-styled “Overworked And Underpaid”, which benefits from a helping of harp from RJ Harman. “She Loves Me Not” is a slightly Latin-rhythmed, gentle ballad while the slow blues, “Brown Paper Bag”, boasts a lovely intro and an intricate solo on Selwyn Birchwood’s guitar and enjoys the added bonus of the keyboard skills of Dash Dixon.
“Queen Of Hearts” adds a taste of funk to the banquet before “Falling From The Sky” features another splendid helping of sax and a very effective underpinning by the fine rhythm section. Finally, the excellent foot-tapper, “Hoodoo Stew”, rounds the album off splendidly with another portion of lap steel guitar.
On his debut for Alligator Records, Selwyn Birchwood has fully demonstrated his talents, showcasing his rough-hewn vocals with a promising variety of compositions and an equally impressive versatility on guitar. We are bound to hear more of him.