2011 Song of the Year – Willy Tea Taylor’s “Life Is Beautiful”

December 29, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  22 Comments

First off, congratulations to all the other candidates for the 2011 Song of the Year. It was an unbelievably strong field, and they all deserve to be recognized. But in the end what Willie Tea Taylor’s “Life Is Beautiful” had that no other candidate could match was poignancy. It’s also hard to deny a song that can make grown ass men cry, but Willy Tea’s poignancy is what really put him over the top for 2011.

In a world that seems so rife with challenges, where we have Occupy protests, a struggling economy, record unemployment, record greed matched by record envy, here is a song that in the sweetest way possible, grabs you by the shoulders, shakes the anger from your consciousness, and makes you appreciate what you do have in life instead of what you don’t. It also quashes any worrying about what someone else has. It is a masterpiece that speaks to the human heart universally.

And I know that this was probably the farthest thing from Willy’s mind when he wrote “Life Is Beautiful” but 2011 will go down as the year of the laundry list country song in mainstream country, and this song fights fire with fire. That’s the beauty of a strong song like this, it has reverberations and positive effects all over the place inadvertently. What better way to counteract imbecile bravado and cultural idolatry than with sweetness and simplicity.

And Willy scores big with the intangibles as well. As I always say, it is about people first, then music. The Song of the Year will always go to the best song, but ideally the winner is someone who represents the core values that govern independent roots music, how music is meant to lift people up, not speak down to them, and I can’t think of a better representative of the beauty and talent of true roots music than Willy Tea. Since I wrote the song review for Life Is Beautiful and the album review for it’s parent album 4 Strings, I have met Willy, shook his hand, and listened to his music first person, and feel confident “Life Is Beautiful” isn’t just a great ambassador for real music, Willy Tea is too.

I don’t know what else to say really, how do you describe a masterpiece with words? You don’t, you just sit back and listen.

22 Comments to “2011 Song of the Year – Willy Tea Taylor’s “Life Is Beautiful””

  • Great choice. Aldean, Moore, Gilbert, and the other mainstreamers I missed should take a note on how to sound sincere when you’re singing about where you’re from. Because while this is a laundry list song in every sense of the word, you get the feeling that Willy actually means it. I think it also helps that he doesn’t just say “Cold Beer,” “The Barn,” and “Church” over and over again and actually diversifies the experience of living in rural America to more than a few worn out cliches. “Codeine” and “Run You Down” were fantastic songs too; overall, a good year for real country music.

  • Damn right it is.

  • Awesome. Great, great choice.

  • Hell yeah! Congrats cousin Will!

  • It was a good song. I just somehow missed out on the whole life changing experience while listening to it. Maybe I’m cold hearted. I felt the same way about wish by left arm tan last year. It didn’t do much for me. I would have went with yall motherfuckers need Jesus or codeine but once again triggerman, we will agree to disagree. nothing against Willy tea because 4 strings is a great album

  • Trigg, I agree 100% with everything you wrote. I have been listening to 4 Strings at least once a day since I got it.

  • I agree with this tune, as with the 2010 “Wish” song of the year.

    I don’t know if Trigger considers this when picking a song of the year, but I think it lends to the creditbility of SCM that the song of the year is a song that could be played on mainstream top 40 radio. Sure there are some songs we might find better in some circumstances, taking from the blog above, respectfully, “Y’all Motherfuckers Need Jesus” isn’t going to crack a radio station playlist. And if you don’t have a song to crack into the radio, then your not really saving country music, your just a song buried due to vulgar lyrics. Yea the message is there, but we have to be real about what is going to help fight the pop-country strangle hold.

    Codeine could make the radio, but besides it having a catchy tune that sticks in your head, it wasn’t even on my best of 2011 list.

    There songs the touch on the negative state of things these days that are good too, but as Trigger said, this tune does point out the good in all the bad, and it fights fire with fire.
    *** I might argue that Ronnie Dunn’s “Cost of Livin’ ” could/should have been up for song of the year, and really is a nice compliment to Willy’s song.

  • 100% AGREE!

  • […] over at Saving Country Music named Life is Beautiful by Willy Tea Taylor as his song of the year. If you don’t own 4 […]

  • Takes me somewhere……….love songs that take me somewhere………thanks Trigger……..

  • Couldn’t have picked a better song and songwriter.

  • For a limited time ***everyone*** can dowlnoad a full quality version of ‘Life is Beautiful’ for free on Willy’s bandcamp site –

    While you are there you can also listen to the whole ‘4 Strings’ album. And, if you’d like to, you can ‘name your own price’ to download all the songs.

  • I remember ripping this YouTube video months ago and started playing it on The Mojo Med. Show. I jumped at the download and payed and have never been more pleased with a album. If this song don’t touch you than your not listening. My grandaddy left me his knife when he passed when I heard the first line of this song tears formed and I was touched. Your right more than ever for picking this song.

  • I went to willy’s youtube page and had a listen. That was awesome. What a great voice!

  • Hello friends, id like to start off by saying thanks everybody for your words. Thank you triggerman for listening to this song and hearing my life. Im honored that it has the legs to reach so many ears. Im in a band called The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit that was started from a game we play. Its called the 52 week club. We have been writing a song a week since 2004 on themes that magically present themselves through everyday experiences. Life is beautiful was the theme that week. If you go to you can see all the past weeks. To join the club you just gotta write a song inspired by a week. Again, thanks triggerman and everbody playing and listening to songs. – willy tea taylor

    • What a fun game! I’ve been quietly playing along for a few weeks now. Will share one of these weeks soon… Have also been playing your bandcamp download on repeat all day. Thanks for being you and sharing it with us :) Cheers & blessings ~ emay

  • I knew nothing about Willy till a few months ago when I saw him play with the calamity cubes in Iowa. I met him before the show but from the first line of his first song i was sucked into he every word. Willy is amazing and you are right trigger.. in a world full of negative this song brings us back to what is good in the world… WILLY TEA IS WHAT IS GREAT!

  • What a great song- evokes visuals and tugs at the heartstrings- keep it up Will

  • This is a great song and a worthy choice for sure! Happy New Year everyone!

  • I absolutely love Willy Tea….you picked it right! This whole album is fantastic, and Waterlogged is my absolute favorite. From the moment I heard this song, I was sucked in, and the one I connect to the most in my life right now. For me it goes through frustration (hell I’m moving) to childishness (taking my dog ) avoiding a problem (far away from this waterlogged ol city), then taking time to think, reflect and realize there are good parts to every story..and choosing to “pluck those sweet memories off the ripe juicy vine”. Beautiful. It took me several listens to absorb all of the words and realize why I love the song so much: it is the story of my life! So many of Willy’s songs are and I think that is why we love him so much.

    Willy, you are in our hearts!
    Love, M.E.A.N. (aka the Ewok Village)

  • Congratulations to Willy tea Taylor. Listen to all his music including the band Good Luck Outfit and your music soul will be changed forever.

  • I feel like I know exactly where he came from, even if I didnt have the same experiences. It really makes me appreciate all the little things that I take for granted. Thanks Will & SVM for recognizing the power of a positive message.

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