Chamber Folk

Carnascialia – Carnascialia

Style: Progressive Chamber-Folk

Vibe: Rustic, Intertwined, Warm, Passionate, Hypnotic, Celebratory, Exploratory, Morning, Eclectic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Polyrhythmic, Percussive, Technical

Instrumentation: Accordion, Saxophone, Panpipe, Acoustic Guitar, Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Drums, Mandolin, Violin, 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

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

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

Beth Orton – Sugar Season

Session musicians include Brian Blade, Eyvind Kang, Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Marc Ribot, Rob Burger, etc.

Style: Chamber Folk, British Folk-Rock, Singer-Songwriter, Folk-Pop

Vibe: Autumnal, Bittersweet, Melancholy, Moody, Rootsy, Warm, Mellow

Musical Qualities: Lyrical, Lush, Melodic, Soft

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

Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh

On this self-titled collaboration, acid folk luminaries Helena Espvall (Espers) and Masaki Batoh (Ghost) create mysterious and earthy interpretations of traditional Medieval, Swedish, Japanese, and Finnish folk songs, plus a Son House cover, an original, and a handful of free improvisations.

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

Pullman – Turnstyles & Junkpiles

LP, Thrill Jockey, 1998 Reissue (2015) Style: Chamber Folk Vibe: Pastoral, Peaceful, Warm, Focused, Morning, Intertwined Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Technical, Melodic Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitars, Acoustic Bass, Classical Guitar, Irish Bazouki, and Dobro

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

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

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, Introspective, Psychedelic, Intimate, Contemplative, Dreamy, Elegant, Mellow, Morning, Peaceful, Airy Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Sparse, Lush, Progressive, Lyrical, Melodic

Ryley Walker – Course in Fable

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Jazz-Rock, Prog-Folk, Post-Rock

Vibe: Spring, Introspective, Warm, Intertwoven, Bright, Colorful, Carefree, Reflective, Personal

Musical Qualities: Lush, Progressive, Odd Time Signatures, Intricate, Dynamic, Polished, Improvisation, Lyrical, Riffs, Orchestral Arrangements

Loma – Loma

Style: Art Pop, Ambient Pop

Influences: Chamber-Folk, Trip-Hop, Slowcore, Post-Rock

Vibe: Existential, Introspective, Brooding, Gossamer, Dreamy, Melancholy, Reflective, Moody, Eclectic

Musical Qualities: Lush, Atmospheric, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Lyrical

Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs

Style: Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Mellow, Morning, Soothing, Bittersweet, Warm, Introspective, Ethereal

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Soft

Tom Rapp – Sunforest

Style: Folk-Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Chamber Folk, Progressive Folk

Vibe: Uplifting, Contemplative, Breezy, Bright, Sunny, Warm, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lush, Polished, Acoustic, Lyrical, Session Players

Bonnie Prince Billy – Ask Forgiveness

Bonnie covers Björk, Mickey Newbury, Danzig, R. Kelly and others with help from Espers’ Meg Baird & Greg Weeks

Style: Folk, Slowcore, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Introspective, Morning, Melancholy, Existential, Bittersweet

Musical Qualities: Covers, Vocal Harmonies, Sparse, Soft, Acoustic

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

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

Robert Plant – Carry Fire

Style: Folk Rock, Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Influences: Celtic Folk, Trip-Hop, Bluegrass, North African Music, Arabic Folk, Blues

Vibe: Misty, Reflective, Warm, Eclectic, Sentimental, Sensitive, Romantic, Peaceful, Mystical

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Polished

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

Jim O’Rourke – Halfway to a Threeway

Style: Chamber Folk–Pop, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Warm, Lush, Deadpan, Uplifting, Soothing, Humorous, Soft

Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Melodic, Polished

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.

Espers – The Weed Tree

Originally released in 2005 on Locust

Drag City Reissue (2020)

Format: LP

Style: Chamber Folk

Vibe: Mellow, Morning, Melancholy, Rootsy, Ethereal

Espers – II

Released in 2006 on Drag City Records Format: LP Style: Progressive Folk, Psych Folk Vibe: Melancholy, Psychedelic, Nocturnal, Sombre, Forest Musical Attributes: Melodic, Dynamic, Lush  

Third Ear Band – Alchemy

Style: Free Folk, Chamber Music, Progressive Folk

Vibe: Ritualistic, Hypnotic, Earthy, Tribal, Nature, Meditative, Medieval, Exploratory

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Improvisation, Instrumental, Minimalistic

Instrumentation: Oboe, Violin, Viola, Recorder, Percussion (Tabla, Drums, Chimes), Cello

Pearls Before Swine – Balaklava

Released in 1968 on ESP-Disk Format: LP Style: Chamber Folk, Psych Folk Vibe: Peaceful, Mellow, Psychedelic Themes: War, Nature, Love Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Strings, Flute, Banjo, Keyboards, Bass, French Horn

Bibio – Ribbons

On his latest, producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Bibio blends serene folk pop, lush instrumentation, pastoral guitar instrumentals, nature field recordings, Walt Whitman-esque lyrics and beat-oriented grooves into the perfectly crafted springtime album. Ribbons feels like daydreaming in a garden or out in the woods under a tree or by a trickling stream.

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.

Love – Forever Changes

Originally released in 1967 on Elektra 2012 Rhino Pressing, cut from original analogue masters Format: LP

Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance

Acoustic-shredder/singer-songwriter ventures out of the jazz-inflected folk-rock territory explored by his last few albums to create something that feels fully himself. Deafman Glance is full of angular left turns, complex structures, airy flutes, jazz detours, and psychedelic atmospheres. A balance of great songwriting, jazz musicianship, and experimental/art-rock tendencies. Recommended to fans of Tortoise’s Standards, Tim Buckley’s Starsailor, and King Crimson’s Red. (Click for full review).

Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

Album Information: Released in 2010 on Drag City Records Produced by Joanna Newsom Arranged & Conducted by Ryan Francesconi Recorded by TJ Doherty, Noah Georgeson, Ryan Francesconi, Dana Gumbiner Mixed by Noah Georgeson & Jim O’Rourke Mastered by Steve Rooke at Abbey Road Studios Format: 3xLP Box Set, includes 12″x12″ lyric booklet with full musician …

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Jim O’Rourke – The Visitor

A fingerpicking folk odyssey that traverses through passages of delicate piano motifs, tribal drum circles, meditative ambience, celebratory horn arrangements, reverent organ drones, and even a cathartic drum solo, all within a single 40 minute track.

Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost

Charming 70’s AM Pop vibes with elaborate string and horn arrangements and a jazzy rhythm section, including the legendary Brian Blade on drums. Great songwriting from Sam Beam, as usual.

Jim O’Rourke – Bad Timing

An introspective, instrumental journey of pastoral fingerstyle guitar, occasionally joined by piano, synth and horn arrangements

Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left

Album Information: Released in 1969 by Island Records Recorded between June 1968 and June 1969 at Sound Techniques in London, England Produced by Joe Boyd 2013 Island repress , remastered from high resolution digital sources Recommended Tracks: River Man, Cello Song

Ryley Walker – Primrose Green

Jazzy Folk-Rock with dynamic songwriting, passionate vocals, and acoustic shredding accompanied by fluid drums, watery vibraphones, distorted keys and groovy upright bass. FFO Astral Weeks, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn, and Tim Buckley