Florida bluesman Selwyn Birchwood is poised to do to the blues in 2014 what Gary Clark Jr. did to the form in 2012 – namely, remind everyone within earshot that this sub-genre of American music is not about re-creating a time in the distant past, but rather, commenting in the here and now with raw, visceral power.
Like Clark, Birchwood is a fiery guitarist and soulful vocalist who has clearly studied tradition, but in no way displays an attitude that suggests he’s beholden to that tradition. This sort of neoconservative approach to the blues – one that suggests that everything that can be done within the genre has already been done, and so the best we can do in the present day is imitate the past – has been damaging the form, and cast it beneath the pall of pure nostalgia. Birchwood is helping to pull that veil away by bringing an impossible-to-miss sense of fun and shared discovery to the equation.
Birchwood made his Buffalo debut at the Central Park Grill in the late spring. He’s back for more, this time slated for a 7 p.m. show Oct. 23 in the Armor Inn Tap Room (5381 Abbott Road, Hamburg). Advance tickets are available through Armorinn.com, or at the Armor Inn Tap Room.