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Sonnerr's avatar

Can anyone recommend any good Folk singers?

Asked by Sonnerr (588points) December 1st, 2009

Beside Dylan, COMVB, Monsters of folk, Kings of Convenience, etc. I have been listening to seriously the same stuff, for about five years. Hmm, I do try and stumble new music, but it would be so helpful if anyone could make a suggestion.

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40 Answers

sebastian_von_tulu's avatar

One of my all time favourite albums: Folk & Proud, it’s a compilation but it might not quite fit the bill though? If you have Spotify you can listen to it for free. (if you didn’t already know about it) will help you discover new music based on what you already listen to. If you don’t use your computer for music you can also just browse your favourite musicians and review the ‘Similar Artists’.

Sampson's avatar

Like @sebastian_von_tulu‘s suggestion, you can also go to pandora radio and discover some new music.

evil2's avatar

leonard cohen

Dr_C's avatar

Gordon Lightfoot

Zen_Again's avatar


JK – Leonard Cohen is great – but not a folk singer by definition. He sings his own poetry, and fok music is just that – unknown songs sung by folks – some from as old as 100 years ago or more.

Woody Guthry, Joan Baez… but maybe Dylan et al from the 60’s could be called folk singers? Maybe anyone singing anything folky? What’s your deficition?

Dog's avatar

Neil Young

naivete's avatar

John Prine – Angel from montgomery
oh and Sufjan Stevens (not really folk but based on the singers you’ve mentioned you’ll probably like him).. search em’ up.

rooeytoo's avatar

Back in the olden days when I was in college we had hootenannies and sang folk songs and smoked dope cigarettes and drank cheap wine in basement bars in Georgetown. It makes me nostalgic to think about it.

In Australia there are 2 guys who sort of fall into that catagory, one is John Williamson, the other is Grahame Connors. They don’t sing old songs but they sing folksy songs about life and living in oz. I really enjoy them both

Sampson's avatar

Andrew Bird, Fiest, Bright Eyes, and The Violent Femmes.

Darwin's avatar

Pete Seeger, The Weavers, The Chieftains, The Pogues, The Irish Rovers, Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby, Spiers and Boden, The Corrs, The Last Internationale, and David Rovics, to name just a few.

deni's avatar

BURL IVES???????????????

rooeytoo's avatar

@deni – I haven’t thought of Burl Ives in years. I always liked to sing along with that song, When I walked out in the streets of Loredo.”

Thanks for reminding me.

absalom's avatar

Paul Simon, maybe. Cat Stevens? There’s Donovan if you want an alternative to Dylan. The Decemberists if you want something current or indie, along with Sufjan Stevens or Iron & Wine.

I’ll second Phil Ochs and Bright Eyes. You might like Jackson Browne but he is more country I think.

deni's avatar

@rooeytoo youre welcome! i love him! he has so many good songs. well, i guess actually none of them are his, but he has such a great voice. he makes em all sound good. i especially love his version of “holly jolly christmas” and also “the ugly bug ball” :) :) :)

Sonnerr's avatar

Thank you all! you’ve been such a great help, and I’ll be looking forward to listening to all the great suggestions!!!

Buttonstc's avatar

Joan Baez

Jim Croce

Woody and Arlo Guthrie

Paul Simon

Kate McGarrigle

The Kingston Trio

Judy Collins

John Denver

Peter, Paul and Mary

Kris Kristofferson

Nanci Griffith

Jean Ritchie

James Taylor

Tom Rush

Crosby, Stills and Nash

I’ve had a Folk Station on Pandora for quite a while and it is fairly well trained. Only occasionally does of still try to sneak in stuff that isn’t really Folk.

Most of the artists listed above by me and others are listed as the station’s definition.

Pandora has a handy feature that lets one share a station and will automatically generate a link to it. PM me if you’re interested.

janbb's avatar

@Darwin and @Buttonstc have most of my list covered. I particularly recommend Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Tom Rush, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. Just to clarify, in the 40s and 50s, folk music was traditional songssung by people such as Burl Ives, Leadbelly and Theo Bikel. In the 60s, folksingers arose who composed their own songs like Bob Dylan. Many, such as Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, did both. What we now would call singer-songwriters are similar to many of the folksingers of the 60s and 70s.

To add some more English names to the list, you might try Steeleye Span, Planxty (Irish), Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, Ralph McTell and Steve Tiltson and Maggie Boyle. There are many, many more great UK folk groups.

jaytkay's avatar and are two web sites which recommend music based on artists you know. Most of the recommendations are entirely new to me, groups I’ve never heard of, I’m discovering a lot of new (to me) groups which I really enjoy.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Ray LaMontagne and Josh Ritter are superb, particularly the former. I could not recommend highly enough.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson (both from Fairport Convention) has put out solo music as well. Odetta, The Kingston Trio, Townes Van Zandt, Maggie Simpson (yes, this is a musician), Devendra Banhart, Vashti Bunyan and (very early) Animal Collective

OpryLeigh's avatar

I was going to recommend Kate Rusby but @Darwin beat me to it!

wildpotato's avatar

How is it that has no one has mentioned Buffy Sainte Marie yet?

janbb's avatar

@wildpotato I used to love her! Thanks for adding her to the list. That vibrato would kill me every time.

wildpotato's avatar

@janbb Just added some links to that – third one has very heavy vibrato.

zephyr826's avatar

The Weepies.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

If your definition of folk extends to indie folk with lo-fi leanings sometimes, The Mountain Goats (mostly lead singer John Darnielle) are beyond brilliant. He’s a lyrical genius, and does a variety of stuff. Quite possibly my favorite band.

Final Fantasy is not quite folk, but could be something you might like.

Allie's avatar

I am absolutely in love with Jackie Greene.

Zen_Again's avatar

I am going to agree with @Darwin ‘s list as being quite definitive – plus the others that have been added here, and various interpretations of what constitutes as folk: Cat Stevens (Yussf Islam?) maybe Arabic folkmusic – some of which is quite good, I hear, as he does have an amazing voice. Also his children’s cd’s for kids (again, arabic) but pre-Yussuf, he was a BRITISH singer – so not really folk music, imho.

Folky songs are not really FOLK music, imo.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Allie – he does have a nice sound. Thanks for sharing

rooeytoo's avatar

@Zen_Again – i love Cat Stevens, I listen to him often. I’ve not heard any of his music since he changed names.

A lot of names have been brought up here that I had forgotten about. I am going to reacquaint myself with them. I always loved folk.

wildpotato's avatar

@rooeytoo You should check it out. Album’s called Roadsinger – listen to the first track and it’ll be like Cat never left. Yusuf did a nice live performance of it on the Colbert Report not long ago.

rooeytoo's avatar

@wildpotato – I just bought a couple from iTunes, thanks.

Pinklullaby's avatar

The Last Internationale

I think that’s the best folk out right now.

dwisecbus's avatar

im into City and Colour right now or as always two gallants or Iron and Wine

Allie's avatar

I don’t see where anyone has mentioned these boys before; Avett Brothers.
I And Love And You
When I Drink
The Ballad of Love and Hate
November Blue
One Line Wonder
Pretty Girl from Cedar Lane

Also, they’re AMAZING live.

Dr_C's avatar

I just listened to City and Colour for the first time, “the girl” I think the song was called. Pretty awesome.

dwisecbus's avatar

yeah the Avett Brothers were not said yet i find that strange. the Four Thieves Gone album is amazing. City and Colour is the guy from Alexisonfire, two very different bands.

Earthgirl's avatar

allie I agree The Avett Brothers are great. They belong to a whole new wave of music that may not be what people think of as folk music but definitely has its roots in folk music. Banjo, fiddle, accordian and other insturments you don’t see too often in Rock groups give these new folk musicians a fresh sound. I find a lot of them very appealing. NPR has broadcasts online with guest musicians and they cover some really great stuff which is new and not generally heard on the radio. Some of the musicians and group I am thinking of fall into “Newgrass”. I think there is a real resurgence in good acoustic music and use of banjo, fiddle, harmonicas in new combinations.
Some good groups are The Punch Brothers, Sarah Jaroscz, Crooked Still. Alela Diane, Brandi Carlisle, there are many more. Some have shades of country music, some don’t. I discover a lot of great music on emusic. It has gotten a lot better over the years than it used to be. They add new artists all the time. There is a category they call Americana with artists like Gillian Welch, etc worth exploring. And if you like folk music I highly recommend the Newport Folk Festival. Good mix of different kinds of folk music. I went this past summer and it was the highlight of my summer! I also like folk rock groups like The Waifs.Happy exploring. (I don’t forget about all the traditional folk groups but I just find the new ones exciting and wanted to mention some names no one else did)

dreamwolf's avatar

Fleet Foxes. Anything Robin Pecknold does. Simon and Garfunkel.

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