It might not be a mainstream sound, but Ed Sheeran got some serious airplay for his folk-tinged third single this year 'Galway Girl'. There is something of a traditional edge to the chart hero's music, which has got us wondering if he's preparing us for a stripped back full-folk release next.

Ed Sheeran at the Q AwardsEd Sheeran at the Q Awards

So 'Galway Girl' might not be a purely folk aesthetic, despite the fact that it was co-written and co-performed by the Irish band Beoga, but that's not the only thing that's convinced us he could be heading for a brand new sound. 

Remember the song he wrote for 2013's 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'? 'I See Fire' had some key traditional folk elements to it - which isn't, of course, surprising given the period in which the story is set, but it certainly showed a different side to Ed Sheeran than we've heard before.

'Galway Girl' went back to that genre somewhat, and we're sure he must have been spending a lot of time studying Irish folk arrangements because where did we see him next? On the seventh season of 'Game Of Thrones' teaching his fellow Lannister soldiers a beautiful woodland ditty in 'Dragonstone'. 

If that's not enough to convince you, think about the likely title of his next album. We've had 'Plus', 'Multiply' and 'Divide', so it wouldn't be too crazy to predict that the fourth album will be entitled 'Minus'. What could that mean other than a stripped back collection, minus all the extra production? Just him and his guitar, and some of his folk instrumentalist connections.

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It's all speculation, of course; Ed Sheeran has become a chart favourite for his pop tunes in recent years, after all. Though it's worth remembering that he rose to fame during his most acoustic period. Fans would likely be very receptive if he decided to return to his musical roots.