Folk 101: Our Favorites of All Time
October 6, 2016
Folk is the kind of musical genre that makes you simultaneously hopeful while in-tune with the harsh ways of the world. It’s beautiful in its candid approach to looking at life. As a movement, folk was born from the very roots of what makes Americana: strength in song-writing. Some of the most influential artists have embraced and been enveloped by the genre, sharing their words with the world, gingerly placed upon soft and digestible instrumentation. The language of folk is universal, understood by the entire world. In anticipation for Miami Folk and Keith Johns’ Album Release, we’re cueing you in on the top acts you need to know so you come prepared for all the love.
Queen of queens. She’s responsible for breaking the barriers of vocal range, turning songs about heartbreak into analogies about wine, and an infectious post-song laugh.
A master of emotions, Leonard Cohen is the man behind the beloved heart-wrencher “Hallelujah”. A Canadian novelist, poet, songwriter, and prolific voice in exploring the self.
The ultimate troubadour, Woodie Guthrie was a pioneer in political song-writing. He became a leader of a movement that used music as a sword pointed towards a segregated America, with “This Land is Your Land” as his magnum opus.
Arguably the most well-known of the names on this list, and one of my favorite artists of all time. Bob Dylan is a poet who sings his creations into life. His sound transforms from album to album but his political message remains.
The late, great Pete Seeger blended social activism with a warm and approachable demeanor, gathering friends along the way. His greatest hit “Little Boxes” is more notably the theme song from the TV show “Weeds”.
Peter, Paul and Mary
When we talk about the great American folk music revival of the 60s, these three voices ring loud and clear. Peter, Paul and Mary floated through light-hearted music on a bed of angelic harmonies.
A powerhouse in the music of social justice, Joan Baez has never stopped working, releasing 30+ albums throughout her career. She has one of those voices that are immediately recognizable, led by jarring lyrics and acoustics.
The Mamas & the Papas
Although some names are powerful alone, The Mamas & the Papas proved their forced together. With four voices searing into your soul simultaneously propelled by instrumentation that bordered on rock.
Simon & Garfunkel
Finally, the two names etched in time: Simon & Garfunkel. Music so beautifully light-hearted yet eerily melancholic, harmonies birthed in simplicity, and a vast collection of songs that have become inducted into the pop-culture hall of fame (if there were one).