“Beyond The Stars” heralds Neilson’s fifth studio album, KINGMAKER, due via Southbound Distribution in New Zealand, on Friday, July 15.
A timeless country duet (described by Willie himself as reminding him of “Patsy Cline meets Marty Robbins”), “Beyond The Stars” was born of grief, capturing Neilson’s pain at the loss of her father and her longing to be with him once again.
“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.”
As noted, last month saw Neilson lighting up SXSW with a series of dynamic show-stopping performances, including a live performance alongside Nelson at his 10th anniversary Luck Reunion event, the latter captured in a new short film, “TAMI NEILSON’S UNBELIEVABLE ONCE IN A LIFETIME OUT OF BODY AMAZING EXPERIENCE AT LUCK REUNION,” streaming now HERE.
Recorded at Roundhead Studios, KINGMAKER marks Neilson’s most provocative and powerful collection to date.
Fueled by the world-changing events of the past two years, the album’s songs expose and explode the patriarchal structures that pervade the music industry, family life, and society as a whole. While Neilson has previously explored these themes on such acclaimed albums as 2018’s SASSAFRASS! (hailed by PopMatters as “a potent social and political statement dressed up in catchy melodies and infectious choruses that sometimes belie the more serious elements taking place deep within the choruses.”), the new album draws these challenging ideas out even further, shining a dramatic musical light on what the late bell hooks referred to as “the politics of domination” that render women nameless and voiceless.
Songs like “Baby, You’re A Gun” and the cinematic title track see Neilson giving her own resonant voice to women everywhere – to their strength, power, fierceness, and resilience in the face of structural and cultural barriers to their full participation in society.
Born in Toronto, Tami Neilson has been performing for as long as she can remember, first alongside her parents and brothers in the Canadian country music family band, The Neilsons. From being cradled as a baby in the arms of Roy Orbison, singing with Kitty Wells at the age of 10, and opening for Johnny Cash in her pajamas at 18, she had already led an extraordinary life before leaving North America in 2007 to start her own family on the other side of the world in New Zealand, where she has resided ever since. It was there Neilson forged her own artistic path as a critically acclaimed solo artist and songwriter, ultimately earning wide-ranging applause and myriad NZ-based awards for her booming vocal power and inventive, strikingly personal approach to country, rockabilly, and soul. 2020’s CHICKABOOM! proved her most internationally praised work thus far, with No Depression declaring, “Neilson’s phrasing is impeccable… she gets inside the song, turns it inside and out, and makes it her own. She can soar on the rockers, she can deliver the heart-rending ache of a ballad of lost love, and she can capture the playfulness of a schoolyard rhyme with a joyous seriousness.”
With her tireless work ethic, seemingly infinite musical gifts, and subversive songwriting approach, Tami Neilson has already found extraordinary success on her own terms.
Now, with the groundbreaking KINGMAKER, she takes her music and message even further, using her one-of-a-kind voice to rattle cages and change the game for those who have been denied their rightful place at the table for far too long.