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Suncoast Blues Challenge

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Selwyn Birchwood

Selwyn Birchwood

This past year, the Selwyn Birchwood Band set the bar high for area blues/rock bands.

The Tampa-based outfit won the 2012 Suncoast Blues Challenge, sponsored by the Suncoast Blues Society, to earn a spot at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis earlier this year. There, they made a big impression: They beat out more than 230 bands from all over the world to win the whole she-bang. Birchwood also won the Albert King Award for best guitarist.

Now the Blues Society is gearing up to send two more representatives to Memphis.

On Sunday (Sept. 22) at Ace's in Bradenton, solo/duo acts will compete for a berth, starting at 4 p.m.; each performer will get 25 minutes. Then on Oct. 6, the Green Iguana in Riverview will host the full band competition.

For official rules, visit the Blues Foundation's website, blues.org.

The contest is open to all Suncoast Blues Society members.

Birchwood is a familiar face to Sarasota music fans. In 2011, his band claimed a spot on that year's Sarasota Blues Festival stage by winning the TicketSarasota.com-sponsored "Ticket to the Blues Fest" competition. The band is finishing up its second album, which it hopes to release before the end of the year.

Last modified: September 23, 2013
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