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Watching happily from a chair is 87-year-old Arthur Connor. ‘I’ve got gout, prostate cancer and Lyme disease,’ he tells me without a trace of self-pity. ‘It’s the music that keeps me going.’ A woman escapes the dancefloor momentarily to insist that I join in. ‘It don’t matter how good you are, so long as y’all having fun.’

And with that, I am swept away.

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The article ‘America’s country music heartland’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Magazine.

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