Tinariwen – Amadjar

Style: Tishoumaren, Desert Blues

Vibe: Desert, Hypnotic, Journeying, Spiritual, Flowing, Psychedelic, Mellow, Communal, Uplifting

Musical Qualities: Slow, Group Vocals, Repetitive, Percussive, Rhythmic

Flying Saucer Attack – Chorus

Style: Bedroom Psych, Drone, Noise Pop, Shoegaze, Space Folk

Vibe: Nocturnal, Murky, Dreamy, Introspective, Hazy, Hypnotic, Intimate, Washy, Ritualistic

Musical Qualities: Feedback, Drone, Atmospheric, Noisey, Lo-Fi

Sam Amidon – Sam Amidon

Style: Dream Folk, Jazz-Folk, Warped Americana

Vibes: Warm Melancholy, Springtime Reflection, Rootsy, Early Afternoons in the Garden, Dreamy, Intertwined, Heartfelt

Musical Qualities: Lush; Improvised Arrangements; Studio-as-an-Instrument, Melodic, Vocal Fx

Instrumentation: Banjo, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Flute, Acoustic Bass, Synthesizers, Piano

Pentangle – Solomon’s Seal

Style: Brit-Folk, Chamber Folk, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Flowing, Morning, Breezy, Warm, Medieval, Sentimental, Rootsy, Mellow, Pastoral, Uplifting

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Traditional, Melodic, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitars (Fingerstyle), Vocals, Upright Bass, Sitar, Dulcimer, Banjo, Recorder, Harmonica, Electric Guitar, Drums

John Fahey – Volume 2: Death Chants, Breakdowns, & Military Waltzes

Style: American Primitivism, Acoustic Blues, Folk

Vibe: Meditative, Loner, Morning, Rustic, Spring, Spiritual, Pastoral, Bittersweet, Hypnotic, inspiration, Melancholy, Nature, Raw, Warm 

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Technical, Fingerstyle, Instrumental, Sparse, Progressive

Hardin & Russell – Ring of Bone

Style: Country, Folk

Vibes: Melancholy, Desert, Western, Sombre, Lonely, Sad, Breezy, Peaceful, Dreamy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lush

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica, Dobro, Piano, Fiddle, Trombone, Saxophone, Sousaphone, Trumpet, Flute, Congas, Electric Bass

Richard Youngs – Sapphie

Style: Lo-Fi Songwriter, Loner Folk, Slowcore

Vibe: Intimate, Sad, Ethereal, Hypnotic, Heartfelt, Stream of Consciousness, Introspective, Longing, Depressive, Lonely, Melancholy, Loss

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Acoustic, Lo-Fi, Minimalistic, Raw, Repetitive

Damon & Naomi – Within These Walls

Style: Chamber Folk, Slowcore, Dream Country

Vibe: Flowing, Lethargic, Peaceful, Dreamy, Melancholy, Elegant, Airy, Romantic, Bittersweet, Contemplative, Intertwined, Intimate, Mellow, Sentimental, Smooth, Soothing, Twangy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Slow, Soft, Simple, Chamber Arrangements, Melodic

Elkhorn – Elk Jam

Style: Folk Rock, Psych, Jam Band

Vibe: Scorched, Summer, Desert, Stoned, Pastoral Peaceful, Sunny, Traveling, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Instrumental, Improvisation, Fuzzy, Mellow, Riffs, Loose

Jack DeJohnette’s Directions – Untitled

Style: Progressive Jazz, Post-Bop, Jazz Fusion

Vibe: Triumphant, Pastoral, Airy, Searching, Eclectic, Mysterious, Soothing

Musical Qualities: Thematic, Improvisation, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Atmospheric

Bert Jansch – Birthday Blues

Style: Chamber Folk, British Folk, Acoustic Blues, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Breezy, Mellow, Contemplative, Autumnal, Uplifting, Melancholy, Warm, Joyful, Love, Intertwined, Reflective, Poetic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Melodic, Lush, Rootsy, Bluesy, Chamber Arrangements

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Upright Bass, Flute, Saxophone, Harmonica

Leonard Cohen – New Skin for the Old Ceremony

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk

Vibe: Poetic, Bittersweet, Conversational, Sexual, Dry Humor, Brooding, Melancholy, Longing, Tender, Introspective, Breakup

Musical Qualities: Lush, Lyrical, Groovy, Dynamic

Instrumentation: Electric Bass, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Backup Vocalists, Trombone, Jaw Harp, Woodwinds, Strings, Banjo, Mandolin, Trumpet, Drums, Percussion, Keyboards

Hermeto Pascoal – Slaves Mass

Style: Jazz Fusion, Avant-Garde Jazz, Baião

Vibe: Warm, Passionate, Spiritual, Eclectic, Groovy, Energetic, Tropical, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Improvisation, Percussive, Polyrhythmic, Complex

Steve Tibbets – Northern Song

Style: Ambient Folk, ECM-Jazz, New Age

Vibe: Soothing, Airy, Meditative, Pastoral, Winter, Open, Hypnotic, Nature

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Percussive, Sparse, Progressive

Instrumentation: 6 & 12-String Acoustic Guitars, Percussion (Kalimba, Shaker, Bongos, Congas, etc), Tape Loops

C.O.B. – Spirit of Love

Style: Chamber Folk, Spiritual Folk, English Folk

Vibe: Mystical, Medieval, Warm, Spring, Intimate, Mellow, Morning, Spiritual

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Vocal Harmonies, Progressive

Instrumentation: Organ, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Dulcitar, Recorder, Electric Bass, Washboard, Drum, Bongos, Tambourine, Cello, Indian Hand Organ

Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon

Style: Americana, Country Soul, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock

Vibe: Warm, Introspective, Existential, Rustic, Mystical, Reflective, Uplifting, Christian

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Michael Hurley – The Time of the Foxgloves

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Warm, Spring, Rootsy, Peaceful, Tender, Morning, Rustic, Lethargic, Nature

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Melodic

Jackie O Motherfucker – Change [Tour Edition]

Style: Free Folk, Mystical Americana, Post-Rock

Vibe: Ragged, Deconstructed, Rustic, Warm, Communal, Ritualistic, Messy, Raw, Triumphant, Mystical, Eerie

Musical Qualities: Group Vocals, Collective Improvisation, Acoustic, Loose, Lo-fi

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vibraphone, Slide Guitar, Fiddle, Saxophone, Drums, Upright Bass

Ghost – Tune In, Turn On, Free Tibet

Style: Psychedelic / Chamber Folk

Vibe: Pastoral, Spiritual, Sentimental, Haunting, Medieval, Spring, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Progressive, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Cello, Flutes (Kaval, Recorder), Hurdy Gurdy, Drums, Piano, Tanpura, Analogue Synthesizers, Electric Guitar, Tympani, Vibes

Van Der Graaf Generator – H to He Who Am the Only One

Style: Progressive Rock, Jazz Rock, Symphonic Prog

Vibe: Alienation, Longing, Sentimental, Dramatic, Heartfelt, Cathartic, Introspective, Existential, Theatric, Lonely, Sad, Passionate, Epic

Musical Qualities: Technical, Progressive, Complex, Dynamic, Ballads

Instrumentation: Piano, Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Saxophones (Alto, Tenor, Baritone), Flute, Drums, Tympani, Electric Bass

The Body & Big | Brave – Leaving None but Small Birds

Style: Psychedelic Folk, Drone Rock

Vibe: Passionate, Hypnotic, Weary, Cathartic, Rootsy, Sorrowful

Musical Qualities: Repetitive, Driving, Droney, Dynamic

John Martyn – Inside Out

Style: Jazz-Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Psychedelic Folk-Rock

Vibe: Romantic, Warm, Cryptic, Reflective, Passionate, Heartfelt, Lethargic, Stoned, Sunny

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Melodic, Improvisation

Spires that in the Sunset Rise – Ancient Patience Wills It Again Part II

Style: Free Folk, Ecstatic Minimalism

Vibe: Ritualistic, Forest, Nocturnal, Haunting, Hallucinatory, Cautious, Exploratory

Musical Qualities: Loops, Repetitive, Dissonance, Drones, Slow, Electro-Acoustic

Instrumentation: Experimental Vocals, Harmonium, Flute, Spiked Fiddle, Banjo, Acoustic & Electric Guitars

The Iditarod – The Ghost, the Elf, the Cat and the Angel

Style: Psychedelic Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Haunting, Pastoral, Melancholy, Rainy, Delicate, Intimate, Psychedelic, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Slow, Soft, Electro-Acoustic, Sampling, Home Recording

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Cello, Turntables, Banjo, Tanpura, Violin, Singing Bowls, Percussion, Dulcimer, Bouzouki, Organ, Wine Glasses

The Same – The Same

LP, Originally released in 1981 by Unlikely Records Freedom to Spend Reissue (2021) Style: Ambient Pop, Experimental Home Recording, Minimal … More

Fletcher Tucker – Unlit Trail

Style: Ritual Folk, Drone

Vibe: Ancient, Forest, Meditative, Ritualistic, Intimate, Devotional, Earthy, Nature, Autumnal, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Field Recordings, Drone, Atmospheric, Sparse, Suite

Comus – First Utterance

Style: Avant-Folk, Progressive Folk

Moods: Ominous, Forest, Surreal, Dark, Theatrical, Disturbing, Hallucinatory, Mysterious, Ritualistic, Aggressive, Complex, Shadowy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Percussive, Chamber Arrangements, Technical

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar (6 & 12-Strings), Violin, Viola, Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Electric Bass

Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin Grass – Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions)

Style: Progressive Bluegrass, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Energetic, Heartfelt, Rootsy, Communal, Passionate, Sunny, Warm

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Fast, Technical

Instrumentation: Mandolin, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Banjo, Upright Bass

Ilyas Ahmed & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – You Can See Your Own Way Out

Style: Drone, Tape Music, Ambient, Drone-Folk

Vibe: Nocturnal, Haunting, Hypnotic, Ethereal, Meditative, Warm, Nature, Nostalgia

Musical Qualities: Sound Collage, Instrumental, Field Recordings, Collage, Electro-Acoustic, Noisy, Home Recording, Vignettes

Instrumentation: Tapes, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Piano, Drum Machine, Synthesizers, Bass, Keyboard, Percussion, Bass Clarinet (B2)

Meg Baird – Don’t Weight Down the Light

Style: Psychedelic Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Flowing, Dreamy, Nocturnal, Mellow, Soothing, Introspective, Haunting, Pastoral, Airy, Ethereal, Intimate Bittersweet, Melancholy, Contemplative, Loner, Peaceful, Soft

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Lush, Melodic, Sparse, Reverb

Roy Harper – Valentine

Released in 1974 Chrysalis Pressing (US, 1978) Format: LP Style: Psychedelic Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Folk Vibe: Romantic, Floating, Heartfelt, … More

Palace Brothers – There is No-One What Will Take Care of You

Style: Lo-Fi Folk, Slowcore Country, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Religious, Raw, Melancholy, Back-Porch, Lethargic, Stark, Intimate, Rustic

Lyrics: Christian, Alienation, Sexual

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Lo-Fi

Califone – Heron King Blues [Deluxe]

Style: New Weird Americana, Warped Folk Rock, Psych Folk

Vibe: Twangy, Cryptic, Mythic, Surreal, Mysterious, Rustic, Mellow, Warm, Rootsy

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Loops, Electro-Acoustic, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Percussion, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Electronics, Cello, Electric Guitar, Pump Organ, Bass

Earthforce – Earthforce

Released in 2021 on Lion Productions Recorded 1977, Archival Release Format: LP, includes 12-page 12″ booklet Style: British Folk, Psych … More

Between – And the Waters Opened

Style: Psychedelic Chamber Music, Kosmische Musik, Ritual-Folk, Global Fusion

Vibe: Spiritual, Meditative, Communal, Psychedelic, Earthy, Forest, Ritualistic, Tribal

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Atmospheric, Chamber, Droney, Raga, Percussive, Chants

Instrumentation: Oboe, Keyboards, Conga, Acoustic Guitar, Bamboo Flute

Gastr Del Sol – Camofleur

Style: Post-Rock, Avant-Rock, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Cryptic, Warm, Cerebral, Spring, Exploratory, Eclectic, Melancholy

Musical Attributes: Odd Time Signatures, Progressive Structures, Melodic

David Grubbs – The Coxcomb [Review]

Style: Primitivist Theater, Avant-Folk Minimalism, Drone

Vibe: Pastoral, Alienation, Hypnotic, Abstract

Musical Attributes: Sparse, Theatrical, Repetitive, Minimalist, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Voices, Organ, Cello, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Saxophone

Sam Amidon – The Following Mountain

Style: New Weird Americana, Post-Modern Appalachia, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Autumnal, Earthy, Imaginative, Lush, Morning, Peaceful, Rootsy, Rustic, Warm, Contemplative

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Melodic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation, Progressive, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Fiddle, Drums, Banjo, Vocals, Percussion, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Drum Machine, Percussion, Electric Bass, Organ Synthesizers, Flute

Collaborators: Leo Abrahams, Shahzad Ismaily, Sam Gendel,
Milford Graves, Chris Vatalaro, James Sultan

Pelt – Pearls from the River

Style: Ritual Folk, Dhrupad, Free Folk

Vibe: Meditative, Mysterious, Psychedelic, Spiritual, Earthy, Hypnotic

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Drone, Improvisation, Instrumental, Repetitive, Raga

Elizabeth Cotten – Folksongs and Instrumentals with Guitar

Style: Appalachian Folk, Folk Blues, American Primitive Guitar



Vibe: Bittersweet, Rural, Spiritual, Intimate, Pastoral, Warm, Rootsy



Musical Attributes: Acoustic Fingerstyle, Solo Performance, Sparse, Technical

Osamu Kitajima – Benzaiten

Style: Progressive Acid-Folk, Ritual-Folk, Psych-Rock



Moods: Sombre, Earthy, Ritualistic, Psychedelic, Brooding, Exploratory, Mysterious, Spiritual



Musical Attributes: Progressive, Acoustic, Percussive, Rhythmic, Complex, Dynamic



Gastr Del Sol – 20 Songs Less

Style: Avant-Folk, Experimental, Math-Rock

Vibe: Sporadic, Chaotic, Abstract, Agular, Cerebral

Musical Attributes: Noisy, Glitchy, Collage, Complex, Electro-acoustic, Instrumental, Studio-as-an-instrument

Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Style: New Weird America, Alt-Country, Psychedelic Americana, Chamber Folk

Vibe: Rustic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Chamber, Percussive, Studio-as-an-instrument, Rhythmic, Electro-Acoustic, Loops

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Fiddle, Mallet Percussion, Horns, Electronic Percussion, Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Piano

Anna & Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes to Us

The Invisible Comes to Us is a haunting, modern take on Appalachian and Irish folk songs. Beautiful close-harmonies, banjos and acoustic guitars are juxtaposed with droning atmospheres of woodwinds, Moog bass, pump organ, and euphonium. Guest musicians include Jim White on drums and Susan Alcorn on slide guitar.

Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore

Style: Gothic Country, Americana, Chamber Folk
Vibe: Rustic, Sombre, Murky, Rootsy, Ominous, Loner, Western, Melancholy, Moody, Dark
Musical Attributes: Acoustic Instrumentation (Banjo, Upright Bass, Cello, Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, Piano), Atmospheric, Droney, Slow, Lyrical
Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Religious, Christian, Storytelling

Human Behavior – Kedumim

Religious allegory, profane thoughts, and lustful confessions intertwine on Human Behavior’s third LP; Kedimum is a brooding suite of psychological chamber folk that introspects into a conflicted mind, struggling to reconcile matters of indoctrinated faith, natural human desires, and internalized guilt. Primary songwriter Andres Parada is joined by a sympathetic cast of vocalists to create a vivid sonic drama complete with choral vocals and spoken word passages to complement his haunting narrations. The intricate and shadowy arrangements blend distorted electronic beats with a wide array of acoustic instrumentation, including banjo, clarinet, accordian, acoustic guitar, violin, ehru, and cello.

Mike and Lal Waterson – Bright Phoebus

Style: British Folk, Country-Influenced
Vibe: Contemplative, Earthy, Introspective, Melancholy, Rootsy, Rural, Storytelling
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lyrical, Melodic, Simple, Sparse

Mike Oldfield – Ommadawn

Style: Celtic New Age, Symphonic Prog

Vibe: Ethereal, Medieval, Spring, Mellow, Meditative, Rainy, Soothing, Cinematic, Eclectic, Epic, Pastoral

Musical Qualities: Suite, Orchestral, Lush, Atmospheric, Progressive, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: harp, electric guitar, acoustic bass, electric bass, bagpipe, uilleann pipes, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, classical guitar, mandolin, bodhran, bouzouki, banjo, spinet, piano, Organ, synthesizer, glockenspiel, percussion, choral vocals, brass, tympani, drums, percussion

John Fahey & His Orchestra – Old Fashioned Love

Another interesting one from Fahey, side A consists of some amazingly intricate guitar duets with Woodrow Mann, including my favorite Fahey song “Jaya Shiva Shankarah”. Side B takes a strange turn though…halfway through the title track a 10-piece dixieland band kicks for a few tracks of New Orleans-style jazz. The album closes in a more familiar place with a contemplative solo piece that most Fahey fans would dig.

The Incredible String Band – The Big Huge

Warm, mellow Scottish folk with lyrics that border spiritual, philosophical, and fantasy themes. The arrangements are a bit stripped down from their lush psychedelia of previous releases, but still feature a good amount of sitar, organ, Irish harp, and violin to add some color to the vocals and acoustic guitar-centric songwriting.

Ryley Walker – Golden Sings that have been Sung (Deep Cuts Edition)

Ryley Walker’s virtuosic fingerpicking and intricate folk-rock songwriting vibe heavily with a backing band of Chicagoan jazz musicians, including upright bass, drums, Rhodes and electric guitar. The first LP of this release is a studio album of jazzy folk rock songs for fans of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks or Tim Buckley’s Happy Sad, while the Bonus Lp of this “Deep Cuts edition” is a 40 min live improvisation on one of the album cuts that probably beats anything on the studio LP. It’s rad to be able hear both the concise, song-centric studio side and the loose jammy side of this exciting artist in the same release.

David Grubbs – The Thicket

On experimental musician David Grubb’s first dedicated songwriter outing, he synthesizes technical bluegrass banjo and fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing with imaginative arrangements, abrupt stylistic shifts, philosophical questioning lyrics, improvisation, and drones. Featured musicians include drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake), bassist Josh Abrams (Natural Information Society), and drone violinist Tony Conrad.

Strunz & Farah – Mosaico

“World Music” is often a cheap umbrella term for non-Eurocentric music, but when acoustic guitar shredders Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah, from Costa Rica and Iran respectively, bring together a Cuban rhythm section, South Indian violinist, and Kuwaiti guitarist, the music they create truly does have a sense of cultural unity deserving of the term.
For fans of flamenco, Arabic folk, and acoustic guitar virtuosity

Sandy Bull – Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo

On his debut album, the guitar and banjo virtuoso starts off with a 22-minute droning epic fusing American and Arabic Folk music with Indian Raga on his acoustic guitar (often trying to imitate the feeling of the oud). Here, he is accompanied by the fluid, driving drums of Billy Higgins. Side 2 is made up of 4 shorter solo pieces, mostly for the banjo, including an impressive rendition of “Carmina Burana” by German composer Carl Orff and a folky mountain song.

Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

Julie Byrne’s gentle new-age folk is so light and airy it’s easy to miss its depth, but repeated listening shows that it’s strength lies in its weightlessness. Her soothing voice and delicate fingerpicking are enveloped in warm string arrangements, all tied together by soft reverb and pristine production that makes for an inviting, peaceful listen every time.


Six Organs of Admittance – Asleep on the Floodplains

Pastoral psychfolk from guitar master Ben Chasney. Here his serene acoustic fingerpicking is occasionally accompanied by harmonium drones and trippy guitar overdubs, but overall the album is extremely sparse and meditative.