The Mamas and the Papas were one of the most successful folk-pop groups of the '60s, and Mama Cass was one of the most notable female presences of the folk revival.
Michael Franti has become known for his electrifying live performances that can feel more like a peace rally than a standard music concert. As a result, Franti has inspired and motivated fans, critics and fellow songwriters to action through his work.
33. Neil Young
From his work with Crosby Stills Nash and Young to his numerous solo albums, Neil Young has been a serious force in the folk-rock world. Due to his innovative blend of hard rock guitars with folky, rootsy lyrics and themes, Young has become one of the most influential artists in contemporary folk-rock.
34. Nickel Creek
Although they started out as more of a bluegrass group, Nickel Creek evolved, over the course of their 20 years, into more of a generalized folk group. With their prodigious instrumental skills, the trio blended jazz, folk, rock and bluegrass on originals and covers alike.
One thing you always hear when people talk about Odetta is the exceptional power of her voice. She's possibly one of the most impressive vocalists in contemporary folk music. She began performing when she was 19, and rose to fame through singing classic African-American spirituals.
36. Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin is a songwriter's songwriter, and has become highly respected across all musical genres for her numerous compositions. She's also an award-winning artist in her own right, and has recorded album after album of incredible folk, gospel and blues songs.
37. Paul Robeson
Much like Odetta, often when you hear talk of Paul Robeson, you'll hear about his incredible voice. He had a very low bass voice, and was renowned for bringing some classic African-American spirituals like "Go Down Moses" to national and international attention. He became so popular and influential, in fact, that he managed to get his own U.S. postal stamp—not something with which many folksingers have been honored.
38. Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger is, undeniably, one of the most prolific and influential artists in the history of American music. From his time with the Almanac Singers to the Weavers, his refusal to testify in the McCarthy era, and subsequent blacklisting. He went on to be an instrumental force in the '60s folk revival and helping organize during the Civil Rights movement and the peace movement. He's written some of the most covered tunes in folk history.
Even though they were pieced together with the intention of being an ideal folk-pop money-making supergroup, there's not a lot about Peter, Paul & Mary that was contrived. A rather talented trio of artists, Peter, Paul & Mary also became vocal advocates in the peace movement, and continue to be a force to be reckoned with in contemporary folk music.
40. Phil Ochs
Phil Ochs is known for writing exceptional protest songs, and he spared nobody with his sharp tongue. His early songs were brief and sharp topical songs like "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and "Draft Dodger Rag." Later in his career, his songs became longer and more introspective and narrative. Regardless, Ochs is considered one of the more gifted songwriters of his generation.