Folk Music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

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7.5k votes 632 voters 53.4k 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
154 53
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
jerrycstanaway added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
106 52
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

3
88 40
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

4
55 18
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

5
75 33
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country

6
75 33
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

7
91 46
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

8
86 43
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

9
85 45
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Pop music, Rock music

10
78 43
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

11
42 18
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

12
29 11
Cat Stevens is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
samtheguitarman added

13
41 22
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

14
54 35
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

15
39 24
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

16
45 30
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

17
35 22
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
bri-gri added Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

18
21 9
The Weavers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

19
38 26
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

20
26 15
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

21
24 14
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added

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

23
19 11
Stephen Stills is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

24
15 8
Carly Simon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rock music

25
15 8
Chet Atkins is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Jazz, Country

26
25 19
Marianne Faithfull is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

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

28
19 13
Ian Tyson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Folk music, Country rock

29
18 12
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
15 10
John Phillips is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

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

32
28 24
Lucinda Williams is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

33
25 21
Joan Armatrading is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

34
19 15
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Country rock

35
19 15
Los Lobos is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Chicano rock, Heartland rock

36
14 10
Tom Rush is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists

37
21 18
Pentangle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Electric folk, Folk jazz, Folk rock

38
30 28
Tanita Tikaram is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

39
29 27
Amy Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

40
17 14
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

41
27 25
Jewel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Traditional music

42
23 21
Loudon Wainwright III is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Blues

43
10 7
Martha Wainwright is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Pop music, Folk music, Alternative rock

44
19 17
De Dannan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Folk music of Ireland, Celtic music

45
16 14
Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

46
14 12
Lobo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Soft rock

47
13 11
Maria Muldaur is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country, Blues

48
20 19
Maddy Prior is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Electric folk, Folk rock

49
18 17
Iris DeMent is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Alternative country, Gospel music

50
14 13
June Tabor is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music