This song was written and originally performed by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance, who is a friend of Ed Sheeran. Vance toured as a support act to Sheeran in 2013 and the Irishman recruited his English pal to contribute vocals for his album track "Guiding Light."
Ed Sheeran covered the song for the December 2, 2014 "Red Rose" episode of the hit US TV crime series Sons Of Anarchy. Sheeran's fans first heard him performing the bluesy ballad during his 2014 summer world tour. After the English star tweeted that he is a fan of Sons Of Anarchy, the show's creator Kurt Sutter reached out to have him contribute a song to its final season. "He gave me the criteria of what the song should be, and the first sentence was 'The sins of my father,'" Sheeran explained on Anarchy Afterword.
"I have a very good friend called Foy who has toured with me and is one of my main friends," he added. "He has a song that starts off with 'the sins of my father' and I asked if I could cover it."
Sheeran delivered the completed song a fortnight later. "It blew everybody away," Sutter said. "As soon as I heard it, I knew exactly where I was going to use it."
The Voice contestant Koryn Hawthorne performed the song during the April 20, 2015 episode of the singing contest. Her version charted at #84 on the Hot 100 the following week.