A new version of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’

Once again a new recording of Eva Cassidy appeared and again the record company did not provide any background information. It is a rendition of the song ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ written by Bill Withers, who died earlier this year. Eva performed it many times. She gave it her own twist, which she continued to perfect. Eva’s version that we knew, which can be heard on her Time After Time album, was recorded at jazz club Blues Alley. Eva sang it at least as soulful as Bill Withers, but her guitar arrangement gave the song the feeling of a folk ballad. ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ demonstrates Eva’s talents as a solo artist and acoustic guitar player. Eva combines soul, blues and folk in her rendition and the band’s minimal accompaniment adds colour to what is essentially a solo piece.



We asked Eva’s guitarist Keith Grimes if he knew more about the 2020 version and he aswered: “In November 1995 we did a gig at the King of France Tavern in Annapolis, with me, Chris Biondo, Eva, and a violinist named Bruno Nasta. Unusual instrumentation for us, although we used to do trio gigs with Eva, me and Chris fairly often. Anyway, Chris made a DAT tape of the performance, and Bill Straw at Blix Street decided to put it out. He’s doing it track by track instead of bringing out an entire set of songs all at once.”

Keith Grimes

Keith Grimes

Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ is from his 1971 album Just As I Am, which was produced by Booker T. Jones. The record featured musicians Donald Dunn (bass), Al Jackson Jr. (drums) and Stephen Stills (guitar). The string arrangements were done by Booker T. Jones. The song was released as a single in 1971, becoming a breakthrough hit for Withers. The soul singer was inspired to write the song after watching the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses. For the song’s third verse, Withers had intended to write more lyrics instead of repeating the phrase ‘I know’ 26 times, but then followed the advice of the other musicians to leave it that way.

Bill Withers

Bill Withers

Originally released as the B-side to another song called ‘Harlem’, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ was preferred by disc jockeys, and it became a huge hit. ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ won a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1972. The song has been covered by many others like Michael Jackson and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

When Eva sang it she changed ‘she’ into ‘he’.

 Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone / It’s not warm when he’s away

Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone / And he’s always gone too long

Anytime he goes away


I wonder this time where he’s gone  / Wonder how long he’s gonna stay 

Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone

And this house just ain’t no home / Anytime he goes away


Well I know, I know, I know, I know I know, I know, I know, I know

I know, I know, I know, I know I know, I know, I know, I know

I know, I know Where he’s gone / Oh where he’s gone too long

Anytime he goes away / Anytime he goes away

Eva Cassidy’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ 2020:


One response to “A new version of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’”

  1. Susie says:

    If I could only sing Like Eva! (Sigh)

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