It was one of those moments only music can make, and it happened in Luck, TX.
At Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion in mid March, located at his own little Western town in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin, Canadian-born and New Zealand-based country soul artist Tami Neilson was set to perform early in the day. Those who knew of Tami, they knew to arrive early to catch her set, not just because chances to see her in North America are rare, but she also happens to be one of the most powerhouse performers and singers out there in country music.
Little did we know watching Tami perform that we would get the rare treat of seeing Willie Nelson himself appear on stage to sing a duet with Neilson. The duet ultimately was the talk of the Luck Reunion, and the talk of SXSW, as a performer that Saving Country Music has been raving about ever since her 2015 album Dynamite! was getting a big goose of attention via one of the greatest living legends in country music.
The song Willie and Tami sang together was called “Beyond The Stars,” and it has just been released as a single with a video shot right in Luck, TX—most notably in the town’s little chapel which has been the setting for many memorable musical moments over the years. It’s the first taste of Tami’s new album KINGMAKER out July 15th.
Giving you chills bumps from the eerie similarities to Patsy Cline—of whom Willie Nelson wrote the iconic song “Crazy” for—with just a hint of Marty Robbins as well with its Western wind-swept air and Countrypolitan approach, “Beyond The Stars” was inspired by the passing of Tami Neilson’s dad, but took on special significance right before the Luck Reunion.
“This song was written about the loss of my Dad, but with the loss of Willie’s beloved Sister Bobbie the week before Luck Reunion, it took on even more meaning to perform it with Willie, and I really wanted to honor her as well,” says Neilson.
The song works to help remedy all loss, giving hope for a reunification someday in the future in the eternal dwelling of the cosmos, delivered via the timeless tones of Willie’s guitar Trigger.
“Having Willie be the voice of my father in this duet is just something beyond my wildest dreams,” Neilson says. “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.”
Also appearing in the video is Tami’s brother and right hand man, Jay Neilson, who flew in from Canada to perform with Tami. Born in Toronto, both Tami and Jay performed in a family band from an early age, growing up around the likes of Roy Orbison and Kitty Wells, and touring with Johnny Cash. Neilson moved to New Zealand in 2007 where she’s well-known as a classic country and soul singer, while also garnering a following worldwide from her powerhouse voice and country soul songwriting.
Tami Neilson’s new album KINGMAKER is now available to pre-save.