On his debut album, 2018’s sublime Dying Star, Ruston Kelly grappled with addiction and found his way to sobriety. It was a raw, revealing, heart-wrenching record, wrought with struggle and pain and rendered incredibly moving by what looked, at the time, like a hard-won happy ending. Kelly wrote the album after getting sober, falling in love, and getting married, to country star Kacey Musgraves. “I’m a dying star, front seat of your car/Where you brave the cold and come find me falling apart/Brought me out of the dark/I went way too far this time.” So Kelly sang on Dying Star’s eponymous song and penultimate track. In the album’s liner notes, he explained the lyrics and the idea of the song, which were inspired directly by the support Musgraves lent to him when he needed a little help pulling himself out of the darkness:
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Stars are born and will die to be born as new stars again. A supernova brings life anew to the universe. A galactic baptism of sorts.
This song is an ode to the love between Kacey and I. There were many nights during the making of this record where I broke down in her car from the weight of who I had been. And how deep below I felt under it. And she every time, with patience and that special redemptive power only great women possess, reminded me I’m not that man anymore. No matter who or where you are, you have your thorn. It is my belief that’s why we are alive on this earth. To see the glow in the cracks. Light in the tunnel. Suffering is a prerequisite to joy in my opinion. But it’s also the human element that connects us all.