If you’re a 19-year-old wunderkind like Ewan Cunningham, who can play any number of instruments, it’s a great time to be alive. Recording is cheap, video is just as cheap, and YouTube provides a venue to share a slew of his homemade covers of rock classics.
Above is one of his most ambitious ventures: a full note-for-note cover of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes,” all 20 minutes, that uses video trickery to have four Ewans side-by-side playing at Dobbie Hall. (From what we can tell, Dobbie Hall is located in Larbert, Scotland, a town about equidistant between Glasgow and Edinburgh.)
Diving down into all six years of Ewan’s videos and we find, at first, not a 13-year-old Ewan, but his dad, playing and singing an acoustic cover of Coldplay’s “Paradise”. So we know where Ewan got the music bug.
In fact, he tells us “I started playing drums at the age of 4 and continued to only play drums until I started branching out into other instruments such as guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals. I've been teaching myself to mix, record and film music since I was 10 years old and this is my passion.”
Ewan started uploading drum covers at 14, playing along to everyone from Evanescence to Foo Fighters. At 16 he uploaded his first Floyd drum cover (“Brain Damage/Eclipse”) and, like many a teen before him, fell hard for the band.
Then the covers begin in earnest, with him sharing duties with his dad (“Wot’s...Uh the Deal” and “Brain Damage”) and then on to “Grantchester Meadows” (from Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma) and finally on January 1, 2017, when Ewan premiered his three song set from Dobbie Hall, featuring “A Saucerful of Secrets,” “Careful with that Axe, Eugene,” and the aforementioned “Echoes.”
After a successful Indiegogo campaign, he returned later in 2017 to Dobbie Hall for three covers from “The Wall,” which cheekily included a papier-mache airplane crashing into the stage at the end of “In the Flesh?”.
The question this raises is obvious: does Ewan record anything original? Indeed, a few months ago he started a new YouTube channel of his own songs. It’s up to you, dear reader, to check them out.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW's Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.