Folk Music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

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9.2k votes 783 voters 57.6k views 295 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. (295 items)

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list ordered by

1
212 67
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
jerrycstanaway added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
108 45
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

3
115 53
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

4
130 64
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

5
95 41
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country

6
76 28
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

7
113 55
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

8
103 48
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

9
106 51
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Pop music, Rock music

10
104 55
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

11
51 16
Cat Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
samtheguitarman added

12
54 23
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
52 30
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

14
54 32
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

15
67 45
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

16
58 39
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

17
30 14
Stephen Stills is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

18
29 14
The Weavers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

19
44 30
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

20
34 21
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added

21
24 12
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

22
38 31
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
bri-gri added Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

23
21 14
Chet Atkins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Jazz, Country

24
31 25
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

25
31 29
Janis Ian is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Adult contemporary music, Folk music