Every so often, country music wants to cleanse itself, to show that it is more than the sum of its hits, its routines, its tics. Nashville is a company town, but sometimes heart and humility are its most valuable commodities.
At the 49th annual Country Music Association Awards, which were broadcast on ABC live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday night, that meant reducing a burly man with a wondrous beard and a wrinkled leather cowboy hat to tears.
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