Folk Music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

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7.9k votes 656 voters 54k 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
158 59
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
jerrycstanaway added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
92 42
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

3
80 34
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

4
81 35
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country

5
108 55
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

6
94 47
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

7
57 22
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

8
88 48
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

9
86 47
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Pop music, Rock music

10
80 44
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

11
33 11
Cat Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
samtheguitarman added

12
43 20
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
43 25
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

14
55 37
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

15
46 31
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

16
28 15
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added

17
39 26
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

18
36 24
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
bri-gri added Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

19
22 11
The Weavers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

20
21 11
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
27 17
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

22
31 21
Janis Ian is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Adult contemporary music, Folk music

23
38 28
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

24
25 19
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

25
24 19
Pentangle is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Electric folk, Folk jazz, Folk rock

26
30 26
Lucinda Williams is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

27
15 10
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

28
15 10
Chet Atkins is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Jazz, Country

29
25 21
Marianne Faithfull is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

30
19 15
Ian Tyson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Folk music, Country rock

31
18 14
Rickie Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

32
15 11
Steeleye Span is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
spanhead added Electric folk

33
26 24
Joan Armatrading is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

34
15 12
John Phillips is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

35
31 30
Tanita Tikaram is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

36
19 17
Los Lobos is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Chicano rock, Heartland rock

37
19 17
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Country rock

38
18 16
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

39
24 23
Loudon Wainwright III is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Blues

40
14 12
Tom Rush is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists

41
13 11
Kate & Anna McGarrigle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

42
17 16
Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

43
29 30
Amy Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

44
21 21
Maddy Prior is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Electric folk, Folk rock

45
34 36
Sinéad O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

46
27 28
Jewel is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Traditional music

47
19 19
De Dannan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Folk music of Ireland, Celtic music

48
10 9
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
15 15
June Tabor is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music

50
14 14
Lobo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Soft rock