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folk music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

5.1k votes 293 voters 44k views 303 items Follow Embed

Folk music is one of the most renowned genres of music in the world. Every country has its own version and derivative of the genre, which is broad in its appeal. But what makes the best folk singers and folk music artists resonate with listeners. The message reflected in folk music artist's songs is originally supposed to come from folklore, hence the name, but as of late, folk songs have retained a more populist message, with the genre's mainstream pinnacle coming in the 1960s. Usually, folk singers and folk bands play acoustic instruments.

So, who are the best folk music artists and best folk singers? That's not an easy question to answer. But if you're a fan of folk music, you'll know that artists like Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell deserve to be at or near the top of this list of folk music bands. This list should include all folk music bands, including the most popular folk musicians and folk singers, and if you notice this isn't the case, feel free to add them to this list. All of the best folk music artists need to be accounted for, and the goal of this list of folk music bands is to do exactly that.

That said it's up to you to decide who are the best folk music artists and best folk singers. This list answers the questions "who are the best folk music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest folk music musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular folk music bands that you might've heard of. (303 items)

1
+ - 70 22
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

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2
+ - 47 16
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Leonard Cohen Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

3
+ - 58 27
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

4
+ - 38 13
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Woody Guthrie Folk music, Country

5
+ - 53 28
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joan Baez Americana, Pop music, Rock music

6
+ - 47 26
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Denver Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

7
+ - 51 30
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jim Croce Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

8
+ - 23 7
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

9
+ - 43 29
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Gordon Lightfoot Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

10
+ - 28 16
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Kris Kristofferson Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

11
+ - 18 7
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

12
+ - 19 8
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Donovan British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

13
+ - 34 22
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Prine Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

14
+ - 24 13
Joanna Newsom is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joanna Newsom Folk music, Folk, Experimental music

15
+ - 17 7
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Richard Thompson Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

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16
+ - 17 7
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

17
+ - 25 16
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Sebastian Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

18
+ - 26 17
Amy Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Amy Macdonald Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

19
+ - 28 19
Dixie Chicks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Dixie Chicks Country pop, Pop music, Rock music

20
+ - 29 20
Sinéad O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Sinéad O'Connor Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

21
+ - 13 5
Pentangle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pentangle Electric folk, Folk jazz, Folk rock

22
+ - 11 5
Rickie Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rickie Lee Jones Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

23
+ - 17 11
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

24
+ - 18 12
Dido is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Dido Pop music, Trip hop, Folk music

25
+ - 20 14
Lucinda Williams is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Lucinda Williams Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

26
+ - 21 15
Joan Armatrading is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joan Armatrading Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

27
+ - 22 16
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Linda Ronstadt New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

28
+ - 25 19
Tanita Tikaram is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Tanita Tikaram Pop music, Folk music

29
+ - 10 5
Roy Harper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Roy Harper Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

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30
+ - 16 11
Luke Kelly is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Luke Kelly Folk music, Folk music of Ireland

31
+ - 19 14
José González is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
José González Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

32
+ - 20 15
Jewel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jewel Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Traditional music

33
+ - 17 12
Marianne Faithfull is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Marianne Faithfull Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

34
+ - 19 14
Loudon Wainwright III is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Loudon Wainwright III Rock music, Folk music, Blues

35
+ - 18 13
Jorma Kaukonen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jorma Kaukonen Rock music, Folk music, Psychedelic rock

36
+ - 13 8
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Buffy Sainte-Marie Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

37
+ - 9 4
The Incredible String Band is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
The Incredible String Band Psychedelic folk, World music

38
+ - 18 13
Janis Ian is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Janis Ian Adult contemporary music, Folk music

39
+ - 14 10
Maddy Prior is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Maddy Prior Folk music, Electric folk, Folk rock

40
+ - 13 9
Gomez is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Gomez Folk music, Alternative rock, Jam band

41
+ - 13 9
Iris DeMent is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Iris DeMent Folk music, Alternative country, Gospel music

42
+ - 13 9
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Leon Russell Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

43
+ - 8 4
Mumford & Sons is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Mumford & Sons Pop music, Folk rock, Pop rock

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44
+ - 6 2
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists

45
+ - 15 12
De Dannan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
De Dannan Folk music, Folk music of Ireland, Celtic music

46
+ - 14 11
Jack Johnson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jack Johnson Indie pop, Tropical rock, Pop music

47
+ - 14 11
Jimmie Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jimmie Rodgers Rock music, Folk music, Traditional pop music

48
+ - 13 10
Máire Brennan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Máire Brennan New Age music, Folk music, Folk music of Ireland

49
+ - 13 10
Jim Corcoran is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jim Corcoran Pop music, Folk music

50
+ - 13 10
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joan Osborne Rock music, Folk music, Country rock