Northern Irish musician Foy Vance originally wrote this brooding, gospel-driven tune for a friend who he told Center Stage magazine is "one of those boys that is forever carrying everyone else's burden and never talks about his own."
Vance never intended to record the song for The Wild Swan, but after playing it for a couple of the guys in the band, they urged him to "at least give this a go and see if this works."
Keith Urban covered the track in Nashville in 2019 with co-producer Dave Cobb. Urban said: "I love songs that speak to the human condition of struggle and the idea that 'it's okay, I can help you... let me carry your burden.'"
Urban performed his cover during the 2019 ACM Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Area in Las Vegas on April 7, 2019.
Foy Vance has form for penning songs recorded by country acts. He co-wrote Miranda Lambert's 2016 The Weight of These Wings track "Pushin' Time."
Foy Vance is signed to Ed Sheeran's Gingerbread Records and it was Sheeran who turned Keith Urban on to the Irish singer-songwriter. The pair visited the country star backstage when he played London's O2 Arena and the next day, Urban spent two hours exploring London on his bike as he listened to Vance's music.
When he later discovered "Burden" on YouTube, Urban felt compelled to record his version. "It's like a beautiful gospel hymn, like a prayer," he reflected in a video. "It's a song I wanted to be able to see if I could capture it and shape it the way that I was feeling it in my heart."
Two tears roll down Sinead O'Connor's face. toward the end of the video for "Nothing Compares 2 U." They were shed because she associated the song's lyrics of love and loss with her mother, who was killed in a car accident in 1985.