Folk Music The Best Folk Bands/Artists  

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8.2k votes 681 voters 54.7k 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
167 60
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
jerrycstanaway added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
84 35
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

3
84 36
Woody Guthrie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Country

4
98 47
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

5
110 56
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

6
94 46
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

7
61 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
91 47
Joan Baez is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Pop music, Rock music

9
87 44
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

10
91 48
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Pop music, Traditional music

11
36 12
Cat Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
samtheguitarman added

12
44 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
58 39
John Prine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

14
43 27
Donovan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added British Invasion, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic pop

15
48 32
Kris Kristofferson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music

16
40 26
John Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

17
23 11
The Weavers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

18
28 16
Fairport Convention is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added

19
40 28
Linda Ronstadt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Latin American music

20
36 25
Richard Thompson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
bri-gri added Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk

21
22 12
Stephen Stills is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

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

23
27 18
Buffy Sainte-Marie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Electronic music

24
16 10
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
25 20
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

26
24 20
Pentangle is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Electric folk, Folk jazz, Folk rock

27
30 27
Lucinda Williams is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

28
25 22
Marianne Faithfull is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

29
15 11
Chet Atkins is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Jazz, Country

30
19 16
Ian Tyson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Western music, Folk music, Country rock

31
18 15
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 12
Steeleye Span is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
spanhead added Electric folk

33
26 25
Joan Armatrading is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

34
31 31
Tanita Tikaram is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

35
15 13
John Phillips is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music

36
19 18
Los Lobos is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Americana, Chicano rock, Heartland rock

37
19 18
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Rock music, Folk music, Country rock

38
18 17
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

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

40
15 14
Lobo is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Folk music, Soft rock

41
14 13
Tom Rush is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists

42
13 12
Kate & Anna McGarrigle is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
gnicholls added Folk music

43
29 31
Amy Macdonald is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

44
17 17
Al Stewart is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

45
34 37
Sinéad O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

46
27 29
Jewel is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Traditional music

47
21 22
Maddy Prior is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Electric folk, Folk rock

48
19 20
De Dannan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music, Folk music of Ireland, Celtic music

49
10 10
Martha Wainwright is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
chip-chop added Pop music, Folk music, Alternative rock

50
15 16
June Tabor is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Folk Bands/Artists
Folk music