Sumter native Lee Brice walked onstage Sunday night to accept the Academy of Country Music award for Song of the Year, "I Drive Your Truck," a ballad based on a real-life mourning of a soldier.
The song, written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary, was on Brice's album, "Hard 2 Love."
During the nationally televised broadcast of the awards, Brice also evoked memories on a stripped down version of the emotional song, appearing all in black on a darkened stage with a stark white acoustic guitar.
The song was inspired by the story of Paul Monti, whose son, Medal of Honor recipient Jared, was killed in Afghanistan while trying to save a fellow soldier. It was also selected as song of the year by the Country Music Association.
Brice, who grew up in Sumter, went to Clemson University on a football scholarship until he was injured. That's when music came calling his way. One of his first hits? "Sumter County Friday Nights." He went on to writing songs for Garth Brooks and Jason Aldean.