Folk Music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

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8.6k votes 726 voters 56k views 294 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. (294 items)

list ordered by

1
191 63
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
jerrycstanaway added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
94 39
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

3
70 23
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

4
118 57
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

5
105 48
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

6
95 44
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

7
86 39
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country

8
99 50
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

9
97 49
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Pop music, Rock music

10
98 50
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

11
45 14
Cat Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
samtheguitarman added

12
49 21
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

13
47 29
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

14
53 35
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

15
61 43
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

16
45 29
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

17
42 28
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

18
25 13
The Weavers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

19
30 19
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added

20
24 13
Stephen Stills is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

21
37 28
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
bri-gri added Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

22
20 11
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

23
29 22
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

24
31 26
Janis Ian is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Adult contemporary music, Folk music

25
25 22
Pentangle is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Electric folk, Folk jazz, Folk rock

26
17 13
Chet Atkins is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Jazz, Country

27
27 25
Marianne Faithfull is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

28
25 23
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

29
19 17
Rickie Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

30
30 30
Lucinda Williams is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

31
17 15
Lobo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Soft rock

32
16 15
Steeleye Span is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
spanhead added Electric folk

33
32 34
Tanita Tikaram is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

34
20 20
Ian Tyson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Folk music, Country rock

35
25 26
Loudon Wainwright III is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Blues

36
26 28
Joan Armatrading is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

37
20 21
Los Lobos is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Chicano rock, Heartland rock

38
15 15
Maria Muldaur is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country, Blues

39
14 14
Kate & Anna McGarrigle is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

40
20 22
De Dannan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Folk music of Ireland, Celtic music

41
15 16
John Phillips is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

42
15 16
Tom Rush is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists

43
19 21
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Country rock

44
18 20
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

45
34 40
Sinéad O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

46
25 29
José González is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Indie folk, Indie rock

47
29 34
Amy Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

48
11 12
Martha Wainwright is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Pop music, Folk music, Alternative rock

49
19 22
Iris DeMent is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Alternative country, Gospel music

50
27 32
Joanna Newsom is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Folk, Experimental music