Folk Music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

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7.4k votes 602 voters 52.3k views 292 items

Folk music is one of the most renowned genres of music in the world as shown by this list of best folk songs of 2018. 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. (292 items)

1
147 51
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
jerrycstanaway added Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
103 50
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

3
72 31
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

4
74 33
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Woody Guthrie Folk music, Country

5
53 18
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

6
81 39
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Leonard Cohen Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

7
90 46
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jim Croce Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

8
84 43
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Denver Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

9
83 44
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joan Baez Americana, Pop music, Rock music

10
77 42
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Gordon Lightfoot Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

11
42 16
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

12
53 34
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Prine Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

13
37 21
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Donovan British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

14
39 23
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Sebastian Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

The Best Honky Tonk Bands/Artists

15
45 29
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Kris Kristofferson Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

16
24 11
Cat Stevens is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
samtheguitarman added Cat Stevens

17
34 21
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
bri-gri added Richard Thompson Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

18
37 24
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Linda Ronstadt New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

19
20 8
The Weavers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added The Weavers Folk music

20
23 13
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Fairport Convention

21
23 14
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Buffy Sainte-Marie Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

The Best Blues Bands of All Time

22
29 20
Janis Ian is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Janis Ian Adult contemporary music, Folk music

23
25 18
Marianne Faithfull is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Marianne Faithfull Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

24
18 11
Stephen Stills is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Stephen Stills Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

25
15 8
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Carly Simon Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

26
15 8
Chet Atkins is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Chet Atkins Folk music, Jazz, Country

27
24 18
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

28
18 12
Rickie Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rickie Lee Jones Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

The Best Cajun Bands/Artists

29
18 13
Ian Tyson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Ian Tyson Western music, Folk music, Country rock

30
15 10
John Phillips is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
John Phillips Pop music, Folk music

31
14 9
Steeleye Span is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
spanhead added Steeleye Span Electric folk

32
25 21
Joan Armatrading is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joan Armatrading Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

33
27 24
Lucinda Williams is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Lucinda Williams Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

34
21 18
Pentangle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Pentangle Electric folk, Folk jazz, Folk rock

35
30 28
Tanita Tikaram is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Tanita Tikaram Pop music, Folk music

The 25 Sexiest (Famous) Girls with Tattoos

36
23 21
Loudon Wainwright III is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Loudon Wainwright III Rock music, Folk music, Blues

37
10 7
Martha Wainwright is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Martha Wainwright Pop music, Folk music, Alternative rock

38
19 17
De Dannan is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
De Dannan Folk music, Folk music of Ireland, Celtic music

39
28 27
Amy Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Amy Macdonald Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

40
17 15
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Joan Osborne Rock music, Folk music, Country rock

41
26 25
Jewel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jewel Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Traditional music

42
16 14
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Leon Russell Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

Biggest Hits—and Flops—of Celebrities Who Dabbled in Music

43
14 12
Lobo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Lobo Pop music, Folk music, Soft rock

44
12 10
Tom Rush is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists

45
16 15
Los Lobos is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Los Lobos Americana, Chicano rock, Heartland rock

46
15 14
Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Al Stewart Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

47
14 13
June Tabor is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
June Tabor Folk music

48
22 22
Jorma Kaukonen is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Jorma Kaukonen Rock music, Folk music, Psychedelic rock

49
12 11
Maria Muldaur is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Maria Muldaur Folk music, Country, Blues

50
19 19
Maddy Prior is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Maddy Prior Folk music, Electric folk, Folk rock