Ed Sheeran: The X Factor

what Ed Sheeran’s massive success shows is the endurance of the acoustic guitar in popular music—not just in the singer-songwriter or country-bluegrass realms, but also in the pure, unadulterated, teen-loving pop world. For this 2014 package first published in Acoustic Guitar magazine, I talked to Sheeran and others about his music and guitars, and he delivered a stirring, stripped-down performance of “Thinking Out Loud.”