Throwback Jam: Gary Allan’s “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful”

By Aaron Wagner

I think Gary Allan is one of the more successful artists of the last 20-25 years who flew under the radar more than he should have. While he doesn’t have a ton of party anthems, most of his songs are so well-written that you feel something when you listen to them.

Released in January of 2006, Gary Allan took “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” all the way to #4 on the country radio charts and the song was certified Gold.

The song was written by Cyndi Goodman and Tommy Lee Jones (“If You See Him/If You See Her”, “She’s My Kind of Rain”, “Nobody But You”) and Tommy talked about writing the song with The Boot.

Tommy had worked with Cyndi prior on her own debut album and was working on her upcoming album. The day of the write, one of them had the song title and that was their start.

“At the time, my kids were little, and I was reading to my kids a lot, as parents do. And my favorite book at the time was this Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I love that book, and I was really into Dr. Seuss. And so, what I really wanted to do in that song was to write a child-like Dr. Seuss lyric,” he tells The Boot.

He shared that the tricky part was carefully constructing it as negative thoughts up until the chorus where it flips to be something positive, uplifting, and optimistic.

Tommy added, “I’m really proud of that song. I’ve never gotten tired of that song.”


With everything going on in today’s world it may seem overwhelming, depressing, and downright sad. But there are things we can find beauty in. Pain and sadness isn’t always going to be the current situation.

Gary Allan himself released this song less than two years after his wife committed suicide.

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has it’s own way
Of taking it’s own sweet time.
No, life ain’t always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain’t always beautiful
But it’s a beautiful ride.