Tami Neilson and Willie Nelson meditate on heavy losses in their new duet “Beyond the Stars,” released alongside a video on Wednesday. The song will appear on the Canada-born, New Zealand-based Neilson’s upcoming album Kingmaker.
“Beyond the Stars” is a mournful ballad in 3/4 time and it takes a close look at the grief brought on by a loved one’s death. Neilson wrote the song after the 2015 loss of her father and, while Nelson acts as her father’s voice in his verse, it takes on an extra poignancy coming so soon after the death of his sister and bandmate Bobbie Nelson. “Beyond the stars I can hear the guitars, they’re calling me up to be with you,” they sing, as Nelson adds some of his signature guitar fills.
“Having Willie be the voice of my father in this duet is just something beyond my wildest dreams,” Neilson said in a statement. “I cried for three days after it was recorded, listening to it and thinking about how absolutely overwhelmed and proud my Dad, a musician and a huge Willie Nelson fan, would have been.”
In the video for “Beyond the Stars,” directed by Neilson’s brother Todd, the singer is in a bright yellow dress with a crown made of shooting stars. She roams the grounds of Nelson’s Luck Ranch, where she got to sing with the country legend in March, first appearing in the property’s chapel then walking down its dusty street to an empty stage. Some of the footage from their Luck Reunion performance is also spliced into the clip. The video closes with a dedication to Ron Neilson, Bobbie Nelson, and John Davidson, the late father of Neilson’s co-writer Delaney Davidson.
Kingmaker, the follow-up to Neilson’s 2020 album Chickaboom, will be released July 15 via Outside Music.