Billy Bragg and R.E.M. fans/players need to meet Daniel Earwicker

Solitary Saturday is a blog category I’m starting to use to describe the quiet reflective time I have on this early morning each week where I indulge myself – and the reader, hopefully – in my other interests besides pharmacology.

Billy Bragg will be playing this evening at Cat’s Cradle, a well-known music club just west of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the hamlet of Carrboro. In going through my archives, I came across this post from 26 April 2009 with a great Billy Bragg guitar lesson from British player, Daniel Earwicker. We’re still having a bit of a bug with the WP build here at PLoS Blogs in embedding YouTube videos but please click the links, especially for “Greetings…” Daniel is a great player most deserving of your attention.

I’m not one for gratuitous, traffic-enhancing YouTube posts but my contemporaries (80s college folks), and especially indie rock musicians, need to catch these two videos (below) from British guitarist, Daniel Earwicker. Daniel performs his own music as Primrose League (MySpace page here) but I first learned of him while Googling when I was learning to play Billy Bragg’s, “Greetings to the New Brunette,” referred to most often as “Shirley.”

There is a killer 12-string guitar run under the duration of Greetings that Daniel suspects was not done by Bragg himself but rather Johnny Marr. Marr worked with Bragg as a session player after his most notable years with The Smiths and is best-known today for his work in Modest Mouse.

Forgive me but I am a huge fan of the 12-string guitar – The Byrds/Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, etc. Daniel plays here his interpretation of the 12-string part of Greetings on a Rickenbacker 660/12. I had the chance to play one of these last Labor Day weekend with some psychiatry colleagues and wish I had the $3500+ USD to score a used one. Anyway, Daniel’s sound is terrific but for those of you players out there, look at how clean and effortless his fingerwork is.

Daniel Earwicker video: “Greetings to the New Brunette”

Then, while I was surfing Daniel’s other offerings, I came to his version of R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe.” This song is from 1983’s “Murmur” – the first full-length album by R.E.M. following their EP. Radio Free Europe had been circulating around southern US college radio in various forms previously but the Murmur version is the most familiar. It is a relatively easy song to play on guitar but the clever bass guitar runs after the main verses (beginning at 0:28) by Mike Mills reflect his classical music training and comfort with playing out of key and making it sound sweet. Here, on a Rickenbacker 4003 bass (only $1,900-$2,200 on eBay), Daniel shows us how Mills does it:

Daniel Earwicker: “Radio Free Europe”

Thanks for indulging me in some Saturday reminiscence of the college days.

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2 Responses to Billy Bragg and R.E.M. fans/players need to meet Daniel Earwicker

  1. Kevin Z says:

    I’ve dreamed since was a teen of having a Rickenbacker bass. Sigh… I am very happy with my Epiphone Riviera though :)

    Great stuff! I going to like this Saturday series! The last band I was in up in Beaufort covered Driver 8, can’t go wrong with older REM!

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