90s Folk Music: The Best of the Decade

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From Nirvana to Hootie & the Blowfish, the 1990s were a decade full of great folk music. Here are some of the best songs of the decade.

The Revival of Folk Music

In the 1990s, folk music made a comeback with a new generation of artists reviving the genre. These artists updated folk music for the modern world while still staying true to the folk roots. This decade saw the release of some of the best folk albums of all time.

The Birth of the Grunge Movement

In the early 1990s, the grunge movement began to take hold in Seattle and other parts of the United States. This new musical style combined elements of punk rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock. Grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam became extremely popular with young people all over the world.

The grunge movement had a profound impact on folk music. Many folk musicians began to experiment with different sounds and styles, incorporating elements of grunge into their music. This resulted in a new wave of folk music that was more aggressive and experimental than anything that had come before.

Some of the most successful folk musicians of the 1990s were those who were able to incorporate elements of grunge into their music without losing sight of the traditional roots of folk. These artists helped to bring folk music back into the mainstream and prove that it could still be relevant in the modern world.

The Rise of Indie Folk

With the release of Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut album in 2008, the indie folk scene saw a revival in popularity. The early 2010s were marked by a new wave of successful indie folk artists, including Bon Iver, The Head and the Heart, Lord Huron, and The Lumineers. These artists brought folk music back to the mainstream with their blend of traditional folk influences and modern indie sensibilities.

Indie folk is a genre that encompasses a wide range of styles, from the delicate acoustic ballads of Bon Iver to the anthemic sing-alongs of The Lumineers. At its core, indie folk is about making honest, heartfelt music that is firmly rooted in tradition but still sounds fresh and exciting. Indie folk artists are not afraid to experiment with new sounds and ideas, but they always stay true to the genre’s roots in acoustic instrumentation and lyrical storytelling.

If you’re looking for some great indie folk music to add to your collection, check out our list of 90s Folk Music: The Best of the Decade. This list includes some of the most iconic and influential indie folk albums of the past decade, as well as some newer releases that are sure to become classics in their own right.

The Best Folk Albums of the 90s

The 1990s was a great decade for folk music. Many artists experiment with different sounds and styles, creating some of the most iconic albums of the genre. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best folk albums of the 90s.

Nirvana – Nevermind

Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind, was released in 1991 and quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming one of the most influential albums of the decade. With its mix of grunge and pop sensibilities, Nevermind appealed to a wide audience and helped to make Nirvana one of the most popular bands of the 90s.

Dave Matthews Band – Crash

Dave Matthews Band – CrashBy the time Dave Matthews Band released their second album, 1994’s Under the Table and Dreaming, they were already a multiplatinum success. But it was their third album, 1996’s Crash, that catapulted them into the stratosphere. Thanks to the smash singles “So Much to Say,” “Two Step,” and “Crash into Me,” the album spent seven weeks at #2 on the Billboard 200 and has sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. to date. It remains one of the most popular examples of ‘90s folk music.

Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

This album is the folk duo’s fifth and final studio album. It was released on January 26, 1970, by Columbia Records. The record’s mostly acoustic material was produced by Bob Johnston, and includes the famous title track, “The Boxer”, and “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)”. The album was a commercial success, topping the charts in over ten countries, and became Simon & Garfunkel’s most successful release. Several of its tracks had already been hits as singles, including “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “The Boxer”.

The Legacy of 90s Folk Music

The 1990s were a decade of great music, and folk music was no exception. Some of the most iconic folk musicians of all time released their best work in the 1990s. This decade was also a time when folk music began to gain popularity again after years of decline. If you’re a fan of folk music, then the 1990s were a great time for you. Here are some of the best 90s folk albums.

The Influence of Nirvana

90s folk music was heavily influenced by the grunge movement of the early 1990s. Artists like Nirvana brought a new level of intensity and darkness to the genre, which had previously been dominated by light, airy folk-pop. Nirvana’s iconic album Nevermind, released in 1991, is often credited with popularizing grunge and alternative rock, and subsequently 90s folk music.

While Nirvana was certainly the most influential band of the 90s folk scene, they were not the only ones making great music. Other notable acts included Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Buffalo Tom. These bands helped to create a sound that was distinctly American and deeply emotional.

The legacy of 90s folk music can still be heard in the work of contemporary artists like Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and Father John Misty. These musicians have taken the sound of the 90s and updated it for a new generation, ensuring that the decade’s music will continue to have a lasting impact.

The Influence of Simon and Garfunkel

While the genre of folk music enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s, its roots can be traced back much further, to the 1960s and the countercultural movement. One of the most influential groups of that era was Simon and Garfunkel, whose tunes such as “The Sound of Silence” and “The Boxer” resonated with a generation of young people looking for an alternative to the mainstream.

In the 1990s, a new generation of folk musicians began to emerge, including such artists as Ani DiFranco, Eddie Vedder, and Natalie Merchant. These musicians were influenced by Simon and Garfunkel, as well as other folk legends like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. They often used their music to address social and political issues, echoing the tradition of earlier folk musicians.

The legacy of Simon and Garfunkel can be heard in the music of today’s folk singers. Their impact on the genre is evident in both the lyrics and the melodies of many modern-day folk songs.

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