5 New Releases in Folk Music You Need to Hear

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Folk music has been around for centuries, and it’s still going strong. If you’re looking for something new to listen to, check out these five recent releases.

The Ballad of Polly Ann

The Ballad of Polly Ann is the latest release from singer-songwriter John Prine. The album is a collection of covers and original songs that pay tribute to the singer’s late wife, Polly Ann. Prine’s clear, plaintive voice is the perfect vehicle for these heartfelt songs, and his guitar playing is as beautifully understated as ever. The Ballad of Polly Ann is an achingly beautiful album that will resonated with anyone who has ever loved and lost.

The Girl from North County

The Girl from North County is the debut album from Irish singer-songwriter Susan O’Neill, better known by her stage name Soak. The album was released on April 6, 2015 in Ireland and the United Kingdom, and on April 7, 2015 in the United States.

The album has received critical acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 82, based on 15 reviews, which indicates “universal acclaim”.

In a five-star review for The Guardian, Laura Snapes wrote that the album is “a Cocteau Twins-influenced stunner” and “the most exciting debut of 2015 so far”. In a similar review, Andy Gill of The Independent gave the album five stars out of five and wrote that it is “a thing of stealth and delicacy… an astonishingly accomplished debut”.

Allison Stewart of The Washington Post gave the album a positive review and wrote that Soak “crafts vulnerable verses against eerie backdrops of fingerpicked guitar and minimalist keyboards”. In a mixed review, Hugh McIntyre of Forbes criticized the production values but praised O’Neill’s songwriting ability, calling her “an act to keep an eye on going forward”.

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll is a song written by Bob Dylan and released on his 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin’. The song tells the true story of the murder of Hattie Carroll, a black maid who was killed by a wealthy white man in 1963. Dylan’s song condemns the racism and inequality that led to Carroll’s death, and has become an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.

The Streets of Laredo

“The Streets of Laredo” is a traditional cowboy ballad in the public domain. It has been traced to Spanish and Mexican folklore and has been popularized by many artists including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Woody Guthrie. The song tells the story of a dying cowboy who reflects on his life and regrets his choices.

The song has been covered by many artists over the years, but one of the most recent and noteworthy versions is by The New Traditionalists. The New Traditionalists are a trio of sisters from Texas who bring a fresh perspective to traditional folk music. Their version of “The Streets of Laredo” is a beautiful and haunting rendition that is sure to stay with you long after you’ve heard it.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Folk music is constantly evolving, with new artists revitalizing the genre and bringing fresh perspectives to the table. Here are five of the most recent releases in folk music that you need to check out.

1. ‘Chasing Ghosts’ by The Ballroom Thieves
2. ‘Between The Lines’ by JP Cormier
3. ‘Watershed’ by Dead Horses
4. ‘Last Of The Old Guard’ by Dori Freeman
5. ‘Feather In The Wind’ by Oh Brother, Big Sister

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