Current Folk Music Artists You Need to Know About

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Keep up with the current folk music scene by learning about these up-and-coming artists that are making waves in the genre.

Sufjan Stevens

If you’re a fan of folk music, then you need to know about Sufjan Stevens. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Sufjan is a singer-songwriter who writes introspective and personal songs that are heavily influenced by his Christian faith.

Sufjan’s musical style is very unique, blending traditional folk instrumentation with electronic elements and unconventional time signatures. His lyrics are often highly personal and introspective, dealing with themes of love, loss, and faith.

Sufjan has released a number of critically acclaimed albums, including “Michigan” (2003), “Illinois” (2005), “The Age of Adz” (2010), and “Carrie & Lowell” (2015). He has also collaborated with a number of other artists, including Cryptomnesia and The National.

If you’re looking for something new and different in the world of folk music, then you need to check out Sufjan Stevens.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists are an American indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon. The band consists of Colin Meloy (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Chris Funk (guitar, multi-instrumentalist), Jenny Conlee (keyboardist, accordionist, melodica), Nate Query (bassist), and John Moen (drummer). The Decemberists have released seven studio albums, two live albums, one EP, and one D.I.Y. concert recording through Capitol Records. Their debut album, Castaways and Cutouts, was released in 2002 to positive reviews from music critics and sold more than 300,000 copies.

Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes are an American indie folk band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 2006. The band is composed of Robin Pecknold (vocals, guitar), Skyler Skjelset (guitar, mandolin), Seanaelab Gahagan (keyboards), Casey Wescott (keyboards, vocals), Christian Wargo (bass, vocals) and Morgan Henderson (strings, woodwinds). Pecknold and Skjelset met while enrolled at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington; they began writing songs together and soon recruited the other members of the band.

The band’s self-titled debut album was released through the independent label Sub Pop on June 3, 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. “White Winter Hymnal” was included on the soundtrack to the film New Moon in 2009. In 2011, Guardian journalist Robin Denselow named them one of his picks for Glastonbury Festival.

The band’s second album Helplessness Blues was released on May 3, 2011. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.

Iron & Wine

Iron & Wine is an American musical project created by singer-songwriter Sam Beam, who writes and records songs in a folksy, indie style. His musical style has been described as “stark, intimate folk songs.” He has released six studio albums, each to critical acclaim. His most recent album, Beast Epic, was released in 2017.

Bon Iver

Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded in 2006 by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The band’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago (2007), was recorded in a remote cabin in Wisconsin over the course of three months. Vernon released the album independently to critical acclaim. The album spawned the hit single “Skinny Love”, which brought the band to national attention.

The band’s follow-up album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011), won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The album was recorded in a secluded cabin in northwestern Wisconsin over the course of three months and features guest appearances from several musicians, including Colin Stetson, Mike Noyce, and Sean Carey.

The band’s third album, 22, A Million (2016), was released to critical acclaim and features a more experimental sound than their previous two albums. The album was recorded in a studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and features contributions from Brad Cook, Phil Cook, BJ Burton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and Bruce Hornsby.

Bon Iver has been praised for their unassuming attitude and their ability to create intimate and emotive music. Their music has been described as “heartfelt” and “haunting”, and their lyrics often deal with personal themes such as love, loss, heartbreak, and redemption.

Punch Brothers

Punch Brothers are an American folk music band that formed in 2006. The band is composed of mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Gabe Witcher, banjoist Noam Pikelny, bassist Paul Kowert, and fiddler Scott Vestal. They have released six studio albums, two live albums, and one extended play. Their most recent album, All Ashore, was released in 2018.

Punch Brothers have been nominated for three Grammy Awards and won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for their album The Phosphorescent Blues. They have also been nominated for three Americana Music Association Awards and won the 2016 award for Instrumentalist of the Year.

The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart is an American folk band. They were formed in 2009 in Seattle, Washington, by Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Charity Rose Thielen (violin, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums). The band released their self-titled debut album in 2011, and their second album, Let’s Be Still, in 2013. Their third album, Signs of Light, was released on September 9, 2016.

The Head and the Heart got their start playing open mic nights at a now-defunct cafe called the Conor Byrne Pub in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. They self-released their eponymous debut album in 2011 after raising $10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. The album sold more than 30,000 copies and peaked at number five on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.

In 2012, the band signed withSub Pop Records and re-released their debut album. They toured extensively in support of the album, playing shows with Mumford & Sons, Philip Phillips, Of Monsters and Men, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Lumineers, Ben Howard, Imagine Dragons,, fun., Passion Pit,, Matt Nathanson,,and Shawn Mullins,,among others.

The band’s second album,,Let’s Be Still,,was released on October 15,,2013. The album debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200 chart,,selling more than 34,,000 copies in its first week of release.,,[8],,[9],,[10] The Head and the Heart was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album at the 56th Grammy Awards.,,[11]

In 2016,,the band released their third album,,Signs of Light,,on September 9.,,[12],,[13],,[14] The first single from the album,”All We Ever Knew”, peaked at number one on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart.,,[15]

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons is a British folk band that was formed in 2007. The band consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane. The band’s debut album, “Sign No More,” was released in 2009 and peaked at number two on the UK album chart. The band’s second album, “Babel,” was released in 2012 and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

The Lumineers

The Lumineers are a current folk music band that has been around since 2002. They originate from Denver, Colorado and are made up of five members: Wesley Schultz, Jeremiah Fraites, Neyla Pekarek, Stelth Ulvang, and Benjamin Welch. The band is known for their use of acoustic instruments and their harmonies. One of their most popular songs is “Ho Hey” which was released in 2012.

Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men is an Icelandic indie folk-pop band formed in 2010. The band members are Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson, Brynjar Leifsson, Arnar Rónnquist, and Kristján Páll Kristjánsson. Of Monsters and Men’s first album My Head Is an Animal, was an international success, selling over 3 million copies worldwide. The first single from the album, “Little Talks” became an international hit reaching the top ten in several countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. The band’s second album Beneath the Skin was released in 2015 to critical acclaim and reached number three on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States.

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