Jed Hilly, photo by Anthony Scarlati
So a few months ago Jed Hilly was about to mow his lawn. It was a Saturday like any other, and—b-r-r-ring!—Merle Haggard rang him up. Hilly didn’t know Merle. They weren’t buds or work associates. But there it was, Haggard on the line.

Merle had a specific reason for calling Hilly, the executive director of the not-for-profit Americana Music Association in Nashville. He simply wanted to thank him, and the Americana community, for supporting artists like him, those with deep roots in the American music tradition.

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