Folk Artist Music You Need to Know

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Get to know three up-and-coming folk artists making music you need to know about.

The Early Days

Music has been around since the dawn of time. It is something that is a part of every culture and society. There are many different genres of music, and each one has its own history and origins. Folk music is one of the oldest genres of music, and it has its roots in the traditional music of the people of Europe.

The Birth of Folk Music

Folk music can be traced back to the medieval period, but it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that it developed into the form we know today. The first folk music revival began in the mid-19th century, led by artists such as Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. This first wave of folk music was based around traditional songs and ballads from the British Isles, which were collected and performed by a new generation of singers.

The second wave of the folk music revival began in the 1950s and was led by artists such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Joan Baez. This wave of folk music was focused on social issues and protest songs, many of which were written by Guthrie and Seeger. The 1960s saw a further increase in interest in folk music, with the release of influential albums such as Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound s Stream: A Tribute to Folk Music concerts at Carnegie Hall and other venues across the US.

The third wave of the folk music revival began in the late 1990s/early 2000s, led by artists such as Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, and The Lumineers. This wave of folk music is characterized by a return to traditional instrumentation and songwriting methods. It has also been strongly influenced by Americana and indie rock genres.

The Evolution of Folk Music

The term “folk music” can refer to a wide variety of music from different cultures and eras. For many people, the word “folk music” conjures up images of acoustic guitars, harmonica players, and folksingers in dusty cowboy boots. But the reality is that folk music is much more diverse than that.

The term “folk music” has been used to describe everything from Celtic ballads to Italian love songs to American protest songs. In its earliest incarnation, folk music was the music of the people—the songs that everyday people sang to pass the time or express their emotions.

Over time, folk music has evolved and changed to reflect the times and cultures it comes from. But in its heart, folk music is still about storytelling and connecting with others. Here are some of the most important moments in the evolution of folk music.

The Modern Folk Movement

The modern folk music movement began in the 1950s and was greatly influenced by traditional folk music and the work of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. The new style of folk music was more political and social than the traditional folk music. It was used as a way to protest against the Vietnam War and other social issues.

The New Folk Movement

The New Folk Movement is a term used to describe a style of music that emerged in the early 1960s. This type of music is a blend of traditional folk music and contemporary pop music. New Folk artists often use acoustic instruments and write their own songs. Some of the most popular New Folk artists include Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and John Prine.

The Indie Folk Movement

The indie folk movement is a subgenre of folk music that emerged in the 1990s. This type of folk music is characterized by its stripped-down sound and use of acoustic instruments. Indie folk artists often sing about personal and introspective topics. The genre has its roots in the American folk music revival of the 1960s, but it gained popularity in the 1990s with the rise of indie rock. Some well-known indie folk artists include Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and Iron & Wine.

Contemporary Folk Artists

There are many contemporary folk artists making great music these days. If you’re a fan of folk music, or just looking to expand your musical horizons, here are some folk artists you need to know.

The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers are an American folk rock band from Concord, North Carolina. The band is made up of two brothers, Scott Avett and Seth Avett, who play guitar and sing vocals. The Avett Brothers also have a third member, Bob Crawford, who plays the bass. The band has released nine studio albums, seven of which have charted on the Billboard 200.

The Avett Brothers’ music is a mix of folk, bluegrass, and country. Their lyrics are often about love, loss, and heartbreak. The band has been praised for their live performances, which are known for their high energy and interaction with the audience.

The Avett Brothers have been nominated for four Grammy Awards and have won two Americana Music Association Awards. They were also named Rolling Stone’s “Band of the Year” in 2012.

Bon Iver

Bon Iver is the stage name of American indie folk singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. Vernon released Bon Iver’s debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago independently in July 2007. The majority of that album was recorded while Vernon spent three months in a remote cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. Bon Iver won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album at the 54th Grammy Awards. The name Bon Iver is derived from the French phrase bon hiver, meaning “good winter”, taken from a greeting on Northern Exposure. Vernon did not intend to write or record an album, but rather retreated to heal andErnest Tubbtime to collect his thoughts after ending a relationship with his girlfriend. He began playing guitar and writing songs as a way of dealing with the pain he was feeling; many of these early songs would later appear on For Emma, Forever Ago.

Fleet Foxes

Hailing from Seattle, Fleet Foxes released their self-titled debut album in 2008 to critical acclaim. The band’s gorgeous vocal harmonies and intricate arrangements are reminiscent of classic folk groups like Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills & Nash. But Fleet Foxes put their own modern spin on the genre, infusing their music with elements of indie rock and classic pop.

The group’s second album, Helplessness Blues, was released in 2011 to even greater praise. The album reached #4 on the Billboard 200 chart and earned the band a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of folk music or just getting started, Fleet Foxes are an essential part of the contemporary folk scene. If you’re looking for gorgeous melodies and impeccably crafted songs, you need to check out this band.

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