The vastness of folk music is the perfect escape from anything pandemic-related. And, as it happens, many of the songs on this list can be best enjoyed in stillness. Sit down, pour yourself a hot beverage and just listen. Some of these artists may lean more country or rock, or maybe bluegrass or old-time, but, together, they make a list of folk songs. Here are the best folk songs released in so far.
10. Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn – Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn
While it's fun to listen to old favorites, every year introduces music fans to incredible new bands and artists. Laura Jane Grace may be best known for fronting Against Me! Vote up your favorite new folk artists, and add any up-and-coming artists we may have missed.
9. Linda Buckley – From Ocean’s Floor
Folk artists this year drew inspiration from China, south Asia and the wildness of the sea on the way to making stirring and vital music. The mood pulls you towards a timeless sad song cycle about love and loss, and a tradition that still has a profound effect, carrying with it many centuries. A gorgeous, stripped-down collection of Scottish songs, Fretted and Indebted, also came out this year, but this album revisiting his earliest recordings, under the pseudonym Appendix Out, felt particularly affecting, especially as he had just become a father. Produced like a soul album by Bernard Butler, Old Wow is a warm, polished tribute to the powers of nature. A set of stunning versions of winter songs dripping with strangeness and unease, as our pandemic year deserves.
When we rounded the up the best folk albums of , the list consisted of veterans like Laura Veirs and Alela Diane and newcomers Tomberlin, Anna St. Louis and Caroline Says alike. But it seemed the newer faces also brought with them a new swath of sounds: St. Louis could just as well be a country songstress, and Caroline Says is paving her own path with a glossy kind of digital folk. These artists are bending traditions, experimenting with their instruments and challenging the definition of acoustic music. And as the folk tradition goes, many of these artists value political protest and a social conscience, not to mention the magic of collaboration. Here are the people behind the shake-ups, listed in alphabetical order.