Keith Urban's decision to perform "Burden," a song originally recorded by Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance, at the 2019 ACM Awards came as a surprise to some fans. However, Urban says that the dark-horse song choice sprang from the immediate connection he felt to the track the very first time he heard it.

"I was riding my bicycle, and I just stopped. It went right through to the very center of me," Urban tells the Tennesseean. "I got back to Nashville and thought I'd love to capture how I feel about this song if I can, and here we are tonight."

Although the song isn't an Urban original, it conveys a message close to his heart. Tracks such as "Break on Me" and "The Fighter" capture similar sentiments of wanting to be strong for another person, shouldering even the heaviest load to protect a loved one.

Urban has been on both sides of that equation: He and his wife, actor Nicole Kidman, have supported each other -- just like any strong couple -- through life's ups and downs. When Kidman's father died in 2014, it was Urban's turn to be the strong one; earlier on in their marriage, Kidman's strength helped him in his journey to sobriety.

Now, Urban hopes that his new rendition of "Burden," which is now available for streaming and download, will help those going through their own struggles. "There's a lot of people going through hard times everywhere, and I've been through that," he explains. "This song spoke to that part of my life so profoundly, so spiritually. I just had to do it."

At Sunday evening's (April 7) awards ceremony, Urban's rendition of the song was a quiet and powerful moment amid an action-packed show full of high-energy performances. He opted to appear onstage without his guitar, tapping Charlie Worsham to accompany him on the song.

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