How much talent can you cram in one person? Seriously! Ed Sheeran is a living breathing oozing bubble of musical talent who continues to delight and inspire the more he evolves as an artist. The singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actor is hard to ignore, his songs are everywhere and they are so contagious — “Thinking Out Loud,” anyone? Not only are they catchy and real, it’s his smooth velvety voice that leaves a lasting impression!
On the “Late Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Ed is rockin’ out with musician Jon Batiste and the show’s band, but what on earth is Jon playing? I had to do a little digging to find out!
The tiny mouth piano Jon is playing is called a melodica. Its nicknames include the wind-piano and blow-organ. Whatever you want to call it, it sounds pretty darn good alongside Ed’s voice. The two have a couple of other musicians and instruments on board to pull off the Bill Withers’ classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
This has always been a favorite of mine, but their performance is exceptional. While not all covers do the original justice, Ed’s voice and the band’s arrangement highlights the beauty and soul of the song. I think the best part is the verse, “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know…,” which Bill originally intended to take out. But, after musician friends encouraged him to keep it in, he agreed to. And, thank goodness he did! The song went gold after its release in 1971.
Ed harnesses Bill’s energy and delivers a top-notch performance, drawing in the emotion and stillness of the song without losing his own style. Not everyone has the chops to do a Bill Withers piece but it seems to me that Ed has got the confidence and know-how to do it well. Notice how his voice changes over the course of the song. He starts out soft, building power and raspiness as he reaches the end. Jon joins in and tickles the melodica for a perfectly timed mini solo that adds dimension and gives the performance a boost! The crowd cheers for yet another fabulous performance from Ed Sheeran.
I think this has to be one of my favorite performances by the star singer.
Click to watch Ed and company smash a classic tune with grace and style!