Folk

Joan Shelley – Over and Even

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Morning, Reflective, Soothing, Gentle, Bittersweet, Warm, Mellow, Contemplative

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Soft, Vocal Harmonies, Melodic, Sparse, Polished Production

Instrumentation: Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Piano, Harmonium, Glockenspiel, Keyboards

Fountainsun – Music Today

Style: Mystical Folk

Vibe: Forest, Poetic, Hypnotic, Meditative, Ritualistic, Nocturnal, Ancient, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Suite, Field Recordings, Chants, Spoken Word

Instrumentation: Banjo, Percussion, Vocals, Flute, Nylon Guitar

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

Fountainsun – Sweep the Temple

Style: Spiritual Folk, Outsider Folk

Vibe: Mystical, Pantheistic, Contemplative, Uplifting, Enchanting, Intimate, Heartfelt, Forest, Ritualistic, Meditative, Morning, Warm, Storytelling

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Suite, Spoken Word, Melodic, Lyrical

Instrumentation: 12-String Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Marimba, Vibraphone, Vocal Harmonies, Gong, Percussion, Shakuhachi,

P.G. Six – The Well of Memory

Style: Mystical Americana, Ritual Folk, Loner Folk

Vibe: Seeking, Contemplative, Gentle, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Intimate, Healing, Mystical, Pantheistic, Reflective, Soothing, Introspective, Warm, Nature

Musical Methods: Acoustic, Suite, Raga, Lyrical, Soft, Droney, Fingerstyle

P.G. Six – Slightly Sorry

Style: Loner Folk, Weird Americana, Folk Rock, Singer Songwriter

Vibe: Peaceful, Melancholy, Reflective, Romantic, Gentle, Rustic, Warm, Autumnal, Bittersweet, Breezy, Contemplative, Lethargic, Mellow, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Soft, Lush, Lyrical, Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Atmospheric

The Skygreen Leopards – Child God in the Garden of Idols

Style: Acid Folk, Free Folk

Vibe: Forest, Mystical, Gentle, Hypnotic, Colorful, Whimsical, Ritualistic, Heartfelt, Nature, Pastoral, Psychedelic

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lo-Fi, Melodic, Raw, Off-Key, Soft, Raga, Electro-Acoustic, Percussive

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

Smog – Red Apple Falls

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Slowcore, Alt-Country, Loner Folk

Vibe: Existential, Warm, Morning, Spiritual, Deadpan, Peaceful, Poetic, Introspective, Lonely, Melancholy, Mellow, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Slow, Lo-fi, Lush, Soft, Sparse, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Pedal Steel, Piano, Hammond Organ, Guitar, Trumpet, Drums, Drum Machine, Hurdy Gurdy, French Horn

Robbie Basho – Visions of the Country

Style: American Primitivism, Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Raga?Vibe: Mystical, Nature, Open, Passionate, Pastoral, Peaceful, Airy, Contemplative, Earthy, Impressionistic, Meditative, Morning, Spring, Spiritual,
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Indian-Influenced, Sparse, Technical

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

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

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

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

Moon Bros – These Stars

Style: Americana, Folk

Vibe: Pastoral, Breezy, Sunny, Morning, Rustic, Warm, Rootsy

Instrumentation: Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar, Pedal Steel, Upright Bass, Drums, Harmonica

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

Collie Ryan – The Hour is Now

Style: Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Mystical, Nature, Soothing, Mellow, Tender, Flowing, Forest, Peaceful, Morning, Earthy, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Simple, Lyrical, Soft, Melodic, Solo

Ditch Americana :: Vinyl Mixtape

A sprawling meditation on American melancholy & discontent by ways of gothic country, loner folk, country rock, slowcore and folk-blues songwriters.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Beware

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Loner Folk, Slowcore-Country

Vibes: Contemplative, Bittersweet, Warm, Loner, Mellow, Uplifting, Love, Break-up, Intimate, Heartfelt, Playful, Soothing, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lush, Lyrical, Vocal Harmonies

Elkhorn – Sun Cycle

Style: Fingerstyle Folk, Psych, American Primitive Guitar

Vibe: Pastoral, Sunny, Hypnotic, Desert, Mellow, Psychedelic, Warm, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Instrumental, Improvisation, Acoustic

Scott Key – The Forest and the Sea

Style: Finger-style Guitar, Folk

Vibe: Nature, Reflective, Knotty, Morning, Existential, Loner

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Solo, Technical, Instrumental (except 2 tracjs), Self-Recorded

Beverly Glenn-Copeland

Style: Jazz-Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Haunting, Passionate, Forest, Ethereal, Melancholy, Contemplative, Love, Lush

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Progressive, Improvisation

Brigitte Fontaine / Areski / Art Ensemble of Chicago – Comme á la Radio

Style: Chanson, Chamber Jazz, Avant-Folk

Vibe: Serpentine, Nocturnal, Mysterious, Ominous, Storytelling, Suspenseful, Open, Beguiling

Musical Qualities: Spoken Word, Collective Improvisation, Thematic, Percussive

Instrumentation: Duet Vocals, Muted Trumpet, Acoustic Guitar, Bouzouki, Shenai, Oboe, Flute, Percussion, Drums, Upright Bass, Lute

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

Julius Lester – Departures

Style: Folk, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Outsider, Rebellious, Melancholy, Storytelling, Intimate, Philosophical, Personal, Political

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Bluesy, Lyrical

Jerry David Decicca – Understanding Land

Style: Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Folk

Vibe: Peaceful, Rustic, Deadpan, Mellow, Lethargic, Nature, Warm, Morning

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Slow, Vocal Harmonies, Lush, Simple

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Guitars, Strings, Upright Bass, Vibraphone, Tabla, Bongos

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

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

Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank

Style: Loner Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Blues

Vibe: Introspective, Mellow, Intimate, Longing, Autumnal, Raw, Loner, Simple, Poetic, Melancholy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Lyrical

Eric Chenaux – Dull Lights

Style: Warped Americana, Free Folk, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Heartfelt, Airy, Raw, Lethargic, Soft, Psychedelic, Peaceful

Musical Qualities: Loose, Lyrical, Acoustic

Instrumentation: Vocals, Banjo, Electric Guitar w/ Fx, Lap Steel, Drums

Anne Briggs – Anne Briggs

Style: English Folk, Celtic Folk

Vibe: Flowing, Pastoral, Melancholy, Heartfelt, Intimate, Rootsy, Storytelling

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Acoustic, A Cappella (A2, A5, B1-3, B5)

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

Jason Molina – Eight Gates

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Slowcore

Vibe: Lament, Depressive, Intimate, Lonely, Rustic, Mournful, Dark

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Voice, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Organ, Cello

Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs

Style: Chamber Folk, Singer/Songwriter

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

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Soft

Earthforce – Earthforce

Released in 2021 on Lion Productions Recorded 1977, Archival Release Format: LP, includes 12-page 12″ booklet Style: British Folk, Psych Folk, Spiritual Folk, Raga-Influenced Vibe: Hippie, Morning, Communal, Spiritual, Pastoral, Earthy, Eclectic, Nature, Peaceful, Mystical, Meditative Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar (6 & 12 String), Sitar, Harmonium, Doogi, Synthesizers, Percussion, Fretless Bass, Flageolet, Table, Electric Piano

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

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

Emtidi – Saat

Style: Prog-Folk, Acid Folk, Kosmische??

Vibe: Pastoral, Forest, Ethereal, Hippie, Psychedelic, Nature, Morning??

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Progressive, Post-Production FX

The Pentangle – Reflection

Style: British-Folk, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Rootsy, Warm, Mellow, Morning, Rural, Carefree, Breezy

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Progressive, Melodic

Cat Power – Moon Pix

Style: Slowcore-Country, Singer-Songwriter

Vibe: Brooding, Hypnotic, Conversational, Reflective, Intimate, Lethargic, Confident, Moody, Overcast

Musical Attributes: Slow, Repetitive, Focused

Lankum – Between the Earth and Sky

Style: Irish Folk Music, Celtic Folk

Vibe: Rootsy, Passionate, Communal, Depressive, Rebellious, Triumphant

Musical Attributes: Vocal Harmonies, Droney, Acoustic

dumama + kechou- Buffering Juju

Style: Nomadic Future Folk, Organic Beat Music, South African Folk, Progressive Folk??

Vibe: Heartfelt, Imaginative, Futuristic, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Earthy, Psychedelic

??Musical Qualities: Electro-acoustic, Percussive, Polyrhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Progressive

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.

Natural Snow Buildings – The Snowbringer’s Cult

Amidst the icy winds of tribal drones and pagan folk rituals, there are moments of mystical serenity in the music of Natural Snow Buildings, like serendipitously finding warm shelter while lost in a punishing blizzard.

Ilyas Ahmed – I Am All Your Own

Style: Loner Folk, Singer Songwriter, Psych Folk

Vibe: Lethargic, Loner, Peaceful, Soothing, Airy, Mellow, Contemplative, Dreamy, Droney, Hypnotic, Intimate, Introspective

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Droney, Slow, Sparse, Soft

The Microphones – The Glow Pt. 2

Style: Lo-Fi, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Loner Folk
Vibe: Heartfelt, Imaginative, Introspective, Nature, Intimate, Loner, Bittersweet, Depressive, Psychedelic, Raw, Lonely
Lyrical Themes: Existential, Alienation, Breakup, Philosophical, Poetic, Personal, Death
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Noisy, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Analogue Recording, lo-fi, Distorted

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

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

John Fahey – The Voice of the Turtle

Style: American Primitive Guitar, Folk
Vibe: Rootsy, Eclectic, Raw
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Lo-fi, Sound Collage, Vignettes, Bluesy, Instrumental

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

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.

Black Ox Orkestar – Ver Tanzt? Yeah

These impassioned, and often mournful, renditions of klezmer folk songs (both traditional and original) are infused with elements of free jazz, drone, and chamber music to create something both rooted and urgently modern (Even 15 years after its release). The mostly acoustic band features violinist Jessica Moss (also of Silver Mt. Zion) and upright bassist Thierry Amar (asmz, GY!BE) in addition to singer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Levine Gilmore and Clarinetist/Guitarist Gabe Levine.

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.

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.

The Incredible String Band – Wee Tam

Released on Elektra in 1968 Format: LP Track Notes A1 – Jobs Tears (Uplifting, Morning, Spiritual) “Stranger than that we’re alive” A2 – Puppies  (Peaceful, Sitar, Bowed Gimbri, Morning) “Music is so much less than what you are” A3 – Beyond the See (Instrumental featuring organ, harpsichord, whistle, and bowed gimbri A4 – The Yellow Snake …

The Incredible String Band – Wee Tam Read More »

Exuma – Exuma

Exuma’s first album is a powerful and ritualistic masterpiece of spiritual folk from the Bahamas. Exuma, the Obeah Man, is a master storyteller and preacher, sharing visions, myths, and prayers. His expressive, soulful voice takes on many tones as he delivers his musical sermons, from smooth to raspy, soft to confident. A group of singers, percussionists, whistlers, and toads join him and his acoustic guitar, making me imagine them all circled around a large fire in communal worship and grateful that they let us listeners in on it.

Palace Brothers – Palace Brothers

Style: Singer/Songwriter
Subgenres: Slowcore, Country, Folk
Vibe: Depressive, Intimate, Lonely, Sad, Introspective, Raw, Loner
Musical Attributes: Lo-fi, Sparse, Raw, Simple