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.