Jim James Covers “Lean on Me” in Tribute to Bill Withers on Colbert: Watch

My Morning Jacket frontman honors the late soul legend from quarantine

jim james bill withers lean on me a late show with stephen colbert
Jim James on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Unfortunately, Jim James has spent a fair portion of his time in self-isolation paying tribute to sick or deceased legendary musicians. The My Morning Jacket frontman previously sang John Prine’s “All the Best” for the folk icon as he battles coronavirus. And on Monday night, he video-chatted in to Stephen Colbert to honor the late Bill Withers with a cover of his enduring hit “Lean on Me”.

Withers passed away on Friday due to heart complications, leaving behind a legacy of indelible soul classics. James’ voice is one of the most emotional — if not oddest — in rock, and his delivery of “Lean on Me” vibrated with both strength and sorrow. Showing the unique dexterity of his range, James’ performance felt like a fitting sendoff for an artists whose gift of music will far exceed his lifetime.

Watch Jim James’ rendition of “Lean on Me” below.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted most of the live music industry, My Morning Jacket is still expected to perform at Pearl Jam’s Ohana Festival in September alongside PJ, Eddie Vedder, Kings of Leon, Maggie Rogers, The Frames, Pretenders, and more. Get tickets here.

James is also hoping to perform some summer orchestral shows with his The Order of Nature collaborator Teddy Abrams. Read the pair’s Track by Track breakdown of that effort, and then find tickets here.

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