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Top Ten Lists

Check out the top ten artists and CDs from each of Folk's biggest sub-genres

Top Five Banjo Songs
Learn more about the banjo by checking out these essential banjo songs - including some traditional standards and some contemporary show-stoppers.

Best New Folk Artists 2011
2011 was full of new music and new music styles - jazz blended with soul, folk blended with classical music, singer-songwriter-ambient, and so much more. Check out the innovative new artists who made waves in 2011.

Folk Music Wishlist for Glee Theme Episodes
Glee has become known for spicing up its season with themed episodes targeted wholly on a single artist's catalog. Here's a wishlist of glee episodes aimed at folk music fans. (We can dream, can't we?)

Folk Music Albums for Kids
Folk music for kids can range from silly nonsense songs to songs which introduce them to experiences like helping with laundry and going to school. Check out these great folk music albums for kids, including Pete Seeger's songs about bugs and a special disc from Jerry Garcia.

Favorite Folk Music Albums for Kids
Whether you have a folk album you and your kids absolutely love, or are looking for recommendations from other parents, this is a great place to look.

Essential Ramblin' Jack Albums
Ramblin' Jack Elliott's career has included numerous twists and turns, and has ranged from traditional folk to singer-songwriter tunes and even the blues. Get to know Ramblin' Jack better with these essential albums.

Great Contemporary Stringbands
If you trace back the tradition of stringband music (guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass; sometimes mandolin and/or dobro), you'll find folk, country, bluegrass, ragtime, and several other styles. Nowadays, some of the most remarkable stringbands are pulling not only from those rich traditions, but also modern rock, soul, gospel, jazz and r&b. In the...

Campfire Songs
Whether you're camping in the summer or having a midwinter jam in your living room, here's a look at some classic sing-along songs that are also great for campfire songs.

Best of SXSW 2010
South by Southwest 2010 was a whirlwind four days of music and mayhem. Whether or not you were able to head to Austin, Tex., for this year's annual conference and festival, here's a look at some of the best performances we caught by folk, Americana, and roots artist at SXSW 2010.

Folk and Americana Artists to Watch in 2010
Folk and Americana music enjoyed a considerable amount of popularity in 2009, and 2010 is sure to be full of even more outstanding artists and bands rooted in traditional American roots music. Here's a look at some of the most impressive up-and-coming artists to watch in 2010 (listed in alphabetical order).

Your First Folk Album - What Was Your First Favorite Folk Album?
Sure, now you're the world's biggest folk/roots/Americana music fan. But what was the first album to turn you onto music rooted in traditional American music? Was Dylan your gateway drug? Woody? Charlie Poole? Or was it something more recent, like Gillian Welch's 'Time (the Revelator)'? Share your first favorite record with us here.

Best Folk Artists - Who's the Best Folk Artist of the 2000s
The first decade of the 2000s has been chock full of incredible music - from old timey stringbands to envelope-pushing indie folk and Americana. Folk music has emerged in the past ten years, back into the mainstream consciousness. In your opinion, who's the best folk/roots/Americana artist of the '00s?

Best Folk Artists of the 2000s
The first decade of the 2000s has been chock full of incredible music - from old timey stringbands to envelope-pushing indie folk and Americana. Check out the best artists of the '00s.

Paul Simon Songs - What Are Paul Simon's Best Songs?
Paul Simon has been churning out great original folk and pop songs for decades. He's toyed with pop, folk, world music, jazz, and a number of other styles - often all in one song. So what's the verdict? What are your favorite Paul Simon songs?

Essential Paul Simon Songs
Paul Simon has been churning out great original folk and pop songs for decades. Whether you're just getting acquainted with his music or are just interested in creating a Paul Simon playlist...here's a look at five of Paul Simon's greatest songs.

Great Mandolin Players
Mandolin is one of the most popular instruments in American folk music and bluegrass. Learn more about the instrument by learning more about all the great artists who have played it through the years. Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of some of the greatest mandolin players of folk and bluegrass music.

Who's the Next Bob Dylan?
Bob Dylan made such an impression on the folk music world--and modern music in general--that critics and fans have been looking for an artist who would live up to his genius and legacy for decades now. If you're a Dylan fan looking for other artists you might enjoy, here's a quick list of comparisons.

Bruce Springsteen's Folkiest Songs
Bruce Springsteen has, throughout his career, touched on just about every genre of music from folk to rock and the blues. Ever since tackling an album of songs paying tribute to Pete Seeger, though, Springsteen's folksinger street cred has increased substantially. Here are some of Springsteen's folkiest songs.

Essential Phil Ochs Songs
Phil Ochs was one of the best topical singers of his time, focusing heavily on political and protest music. While his life and career were tragically abbreviated when he committed suicide in 1976 at the age of 35, he managed to pen some of American folk music's finest topical songs.

Best Folk CDs of the 1990s
The best folk music, bluegrass, and alt-country CDs of the 1990s, from Ani DiFranco to Billy Bragg, and beyond.

Recession Songs
Recession songs are a rich part of American music history. With the stock market falling farther every day, more and more of us are starting to feel the crunch of the plummeting Dow. Of course, this is not the first time our country (and the greater world) has found itself falling on hard economic times, and there are plenty of songs about tightening one's budget.

Songs About Barack Obama
Here's a look at some of the best pro-Obama songs around.

Artists Featured on 'Grey's Anatomy'
A closer look at some folk and roots artists, alt-country artists, and singer-songwriters whose music has been featured on episodes of the hit television show 'Grey's Anatomy.'

Celebrating Mother's Day With Folk Music Moms
This year, Mother's Day falls on May 11, 2008—a great opportunity to celebrate all the talented moms of American folk music.

Best Songs by Folk Music Poets
April is National Poetry Month, which makes it a great time to honor some of the great poets of American folk music. We'll take a look at some of the best folk music poets, from Bob Dylan to Gillian Welch, highlighting some of their most poetic songs and lyrics...

Best Folk Songs of 2008....So Far
Here's a look at some of the best new folk, bluegrass, and alt-country songs of 2008....so far.

New Folk Music Women to Watch
In honor of Women's History Month, here's a look at some of the impressive new female artists making waves on teh folk music scene.

Folk Music Stocking Stuffers
CDs can be a good idea for stockings, although they don't always fit very well. With that in mind, here are a few ideas of gifts you can get to stuff your favorite folk music fan's stocking this Christmas.

Gifts for Picky Folk Music Fans
From movies to CDs, instruments and gift certificates, here are my recommendations for gifts for your favorite folk/bluegrass/alt.country fan.

The Most Influential Men of Folk Music
There is no such thing as men's history month. Rather than talk about why, I figured it was only fair to point out the great contributions men have made to American folk music. Since this site already contained a countdown of the important women, why not give equal mention to the men? So here you have it: my top ten picks of the most important men in American folk music.

Memorable Folk Music Vocalists
A common misconception is that folksingers are not hugely skilled instrumentalists, much less great vocalists. On the contrary, many excellent vocalists have taken their skills into contemporary folk music, bluegrass and alt.country. Here's a list of a few of the great folk music vocalists.

Best Folk Music Movies
Folk Music Movies - Best Movies About Folk Music Artists and Bands

Folk Music Guitar Greats
The guitar is probably the most used instrument in American folk music. It's portability and diverse range of styles and sounds makes it great accompaniment for artists working in myriad musical genres. Every now and then, a guitarist comes along that so innovatively attacks their instrument, that they manage to inspire and influence legions of...

Contemporary Folk Songs to Drive By
Here's a list of great new American folk songs to take with you when you head out on those summer road trips.

Best Folk CDs of 2007 ... So Far
We're barely more than half-way through 2007, but here's the best American folk music, alt.country, bluegrass and folk-rock CDs of the year ... so far.

Folk Music Dads
The fathers of American folk music include some real characters—from legends like Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash to guitar masters like Doc Watson. All these men and their offspring have made great contribution to American roots music.

Summer Hot Spots For Folk Music Fans
Probably one of the best things to do in the summertime if you're a folk music fan is to head to a folk festival or outdoor concert series. From St. Louis to New York City, the Rocky Mountains and rural Washington State, folk music fans have got it made for the summertime.

Great New Folk Songs
Some people are of the mind that a folk song isn't a folk song until it's been around for a long time. I tend to disagree, for the most part, and I happen to think the last couple of years have produced some excellent new folk songs. Here's a look at ten of the great new folk songs that have come out in the past year.

Mardi Gras Songs
Long story short, traditional music and Mardi Gras go hand and hand. If you've ever walked down Canal Street on Mardi Gras day, you know what I'm talking about. Here are some of the great traditional songs that have become synonymous with American Mardi Gras.

Important African-American Folk Music Artists
Learn more about American folk music through the lens of some of its most notable African-American artists. Celebrate Black History Month with these incredible folksingers.

Best New Folk Artists 2006
Here's a look at some of the best folk artists I just found out about this year (2006), including folk rockers like Ray LaMontagne and Brandi Carlile, as well as bluegrass bands like The Wilders.

Best Bluegrass Pickers
Here's a list of ten of the most influential and unforgettable pickers in the history of bluegrass music.

Top 60 of the 60s
This is a list of some of the greatest songs of the 1960s folk revival, alphabetically by the artist's first name. If you don't see a song that you think belongs on this list, please drop your vote in the folk music forum.

Most Influential Folk Artists
Here's a look at ten of the most influential artists who have ever tried their hand at American folk music, bluegrass, alt.country, and any other form of Americana.

Folk Songs For Independence Day
American folk songs aren't all about protesting something; there are also plenty of great tunes that pay homage to America. Included on this list are particularly songs that make reference to American Independence Day. Some of them seem to only refer to the 4th of July in passing, but the themes the songs depict embrace the spirit of American patriotism just as much.

Signs You're a Folk Superfan
Wanna see how much of a folk superfan you really are? Or are you just looking to learn how to know a true folkie when you see them. This list will give you a quick primer on the characteristics of a true folk fan.

Best Folk Duos
Second to singer/songwriters, duos and collaborations between two people characterize some of the greatest folk music from American history. One creative mind can have a lasting effect. But two minds working together can make something magical that seems to last forever.

Pop Stars Who Could Be Folksingers (If They'd Just Lose the Bling)
Some folks believe the "folk" label refers to every type of music people make. Others are more traditional, considering only older topicl songs to be folk songs. I decided to take a look somewhere in the middle; so I developed this list of pop artists who could pass as folksingers if they'd just lose their flashy pop facade.

Best Folk Album Covers
Folk albums aren't generally known for their incredibly attractive packaging, but every now and then a folk artist manages to blend great cover art with the beautiful music inside.

Songs of Absolute Nonsense
Contrary to popular belief, not all folk songs are all about politics, war, disaster, and serious social issues. Quite a few artists have made great marks on American music by recording songs that range from "silly" to "absolute nonsense."

Five Great CDs For Springtime
As spring approaches, now is a great time to venture out, commune with the sunshine, and take with you some light, airy tunes to keep you in the spring mood.

Important Women in Folk Music
Women have played an extraordinary part in American History. Whether moving toward freedom from slavery, freedom in the workplace, or the freedom to make one's own choices, women have positioned themselves as voices of empowerment and endurance. The women of American Folk Music are no exception. Here's a look at 30 of the most notable women in...

Essential Alt.Country Artists
alt.country is one of the most creative and interesting movements in popular contemporary folk and roots music. Learn more about its players and the style they championed with this list of essential alt.country artists.

Ten Best Folk Guitars
The acoustic guitar remains the most prevalent instrument in Folk music. Here is a list of the guitars most commonly employed by Folk's greatest players.

Ten Essential Folk CDs
The Folk genre spans a wide variety of artists. These ten picks are not only the best place to start for new fans, but are a good primer for fans looking to expand their existing collection.

Top Ten Open Mic Nights
Open mic nights are a great way to try out new material, or to check out your local Folk scene. Besides, it's free entertainment, and if you don't like the guy who's singing now, a new one will be up in 10 minutes.

Campfire Songs - What's Your Favorite Campfire Song?
Whether you're camping in the summer or having a midwinter jam in your living room, it's always fun to get a sing-along going. What's your favorite campfire sing-along song?

Top Ten Singer/Songwriters
My picks for the best and most influential Singer/Songwriters of all time

Best Folk Singers - Who's the Best Folk Singer of All Time
American folk music touches so many different styles, making it difficult to nail down the best or most important folk singer of all time. Who's your favorite folk singer of all time? Find out what other readers think, and cast your vote here.

Notable Folk Music Trends in 2010

Some folks might think the phrase "folk music trends" is a bit of an oxymoron, but I'd beg to differ. Folk music keeps itself relevant by evolving with, through, and yes often despite ongoing music trends. Here's a look at some of the trends which seemed to arise in American folk music in 2010. 

Folk Music on Twitter
Twitter has become a great way of keeping in contact with your friends and acquaintances. And now, it's also a great way to stay in touch with your favorite musicians. Here's a look at some of the most informative and entertaining Twitter feeds maintained by folk and Americana music artists.

You Vote: What's the Best Folk CD of 2010?
Folk music in 2010 ran the gamut from contemporary folk to Americana and bluegrass, and other genre categories that don't yet have words to describe them. So what's your favorite album released in 2010? Cast your vote here.

Folk Music Guitarists - Who's the Best Folk Music Guitar Player?
The guitar is probably the most used instrument in American folk music. It's portability and diverse range of styles and sounds makes it great accompaniment for artists working in myriad musical genres. Every now and then, though, a guitarist comes along that so innovatively attacks their instrument, that they manage to inspire and influence...

Essential Steve Earle Songs
Steve Earle may be primarily known for writing topical songs which personalize the political, but he's also written plenty of love songs, introspective tunes, and blues numbers. Check out this list of essential Steve Earle songs and see what you think.

Favorite Steve Earle Songs - What's your favorite Steve Earle song?
This is where readers get to vote. Share your favorite Steve Earle song, and tell us why it stands out in your mind.

Folk Music on Glee - What Folk Artist Should Glee Pay Tribute To?
Which folksinger would you like to see get a tribute on the TV show Glee? Cast your vote here

African-American Folksingers
Vote for your favorite African-American folksinger with this quick readers' poll.

Five New Canadian Songwriters to Watch
Learn more about all the great folk and Americana singer-songwriters coming out of Canada these days. Here's a look at five of the best.

Essential Emmylou Harris Collaborations
From her trio collaboration with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, to her days with Gram Parsons and her more recent stint with Rodney Crowell...Emmylou Harris is one of the finest collaborators in contemporary folk and Americana music. Here's a look at five essentials.

If You Like Mumford and Sons...
Whether or not you love Mumford & Sons (and, let's face it, not everyone does)...it's impossible to ignore there are plenty of other lesser-known bands who are carrying the torch of folk-rock music, passed to them by the Band, CSN&Y, the Eagles, and others. Learn more about the latest round of folk-rock torch bearers with this look deeper into the scene from whence Mumford cometh.

Bob Dylan's Best Songs
Bob Dylan is one of the finest songwriters in the history of American folk music and folk-rock. Learn more about his vast influence with this list of Bob Dylan's best songs.

Folk Music Biographies
Learn more about American folk music with these folk music biographies - essential books.

Patty Griffin's Best Songs
Patty Griffin is one of the best songwriters in contemporary folk music, and here are some of her best songs.

Essential Bob Dylan Albums
Bob Dylan is one of the most prolific folksingers and recording artists of all time. Learn more with this look at some of his very best albums.

Important Albums of the 1960s Folk Revival
Essential albums from 1952-1965, following the folk revival from its traditional sources to the advent of folk-rock.

Essential Guy Clark Songs
A look at some of Grammy nominee Guy Clark's best songs.

Folk Albums to Watch for in Early 2014
A look at five albums you don't want to miss in early 2014, from old favorites like John Gorka through brand-newcomers like Parker Millsap.

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