At the 2019 CMA Awards, the big moments and iconic stars got The Boot thinking about what country music really is. For some, it can all be boiled down to one song, or one particularly legendary artist; for others, the definition of "country" is much looser: It can be a feeling, a season of the year, even a particular memory.

If you ask Mitchell Tenpenny, the meaning of country music can be summed up in the life's work of one extraordinary artist. Not only did this person contribute some of the genre's most seminal songs, serve as a bastion of traditional country during a time when the format was trending more toward pop and support some of its most talented rising stars -- he also overcame significant adversity.

Those triumphs, Tenpenny explains, serve as a reminder of everything the genre's all about. Read on to learn why he thinks one performer -- who was in attendance at the 2019 CMAs -- exemplifies the best of country music. 

Well, I mean, just seeing Randy Travis still here, making it work, making it happen is [awesome]. "Forever and Ever, Amen" was what really got me started in country music, and just the melody of [the song], that's what country music is.

To see him still here and still doing it is inspiring. That's what it's all about.

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