Folk music has taken different forms at different times over the years. Initially, it was defined as music that spoke of a person’s national or cultural identity and was performed using traditional instruments.
However, the genre of folk music is constantly evolving. This is dictated by the evolution of society and the adoption of modern musical instruments.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the best folk music albums you can listen to today.
Neutral Milk Hotel: on the plane over the sea
In The Airplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel is composed of songs mixing psychedelic folk and indie rock. It is one of the most popular folk music albums, especially in places dedicated to folk music in the United States of America.
This album features unusual musical instruments such as digital horns, singing saws and uilleann pipes and slowly developed a devoted and calm following.
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited
Highway 61 Revisited is Bob Dylan’s sixth album, which debuted in early 1965. It was the first album where Bob Dylan used rock artists as part of his band.
You can find some of the best classics such as Ballad of a Thin Man and Like a Rolling Stone in this album. The album is known to spend approximately forty-seven weeks on the Billboard 200.
Bob Dylan: blonde on blonde
After the album Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan released the album Blonde on Blonde in 1966. This is the last album of the rock trilogy after Highway 61 Revisited and Bringing It All Back Home.
The album Blonde on Blonde achieved double platinum status and peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200.
Sufjan Stevens: Illinois
This is a concept album composed in 2005 by Sufjan Stevens. It tells stories of events, places and people related to the US state of Illinois.
He explores different corners of the state like Chicago, often referring to it as the center of gravity of the American Midwest.
Nick Drake: Pink Moon
In Nick Drake’s lifetime, Pink Moon is the only album he has released in North America. The artists died in 1976, two years after the album’s release. The lyrics of most of the songs are based on her struggle with depression.
Nick Drake is one of the brilliant musicians who battled mental illness. Even though the album did not perform well in the first years after its release, it was later listed in the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone and the 1000 Greatest Albums of All Time by Colin Larkin.
Led Zeppelin : Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin is an English group specializing in rock music. Although they had been singing for a few years, they became popular in 1969 with their debut album.
Led Zeppelin’s album was initially not popular to such an extent that the band had to step in and claim that their songs were about the same things as Jeff Beck’s songs.
Charles Latham: little time for me
Charles Latham returned to North Carolina after living in different cities in the United Kingdom and the United States. He felt the need for change to start working on his fourth album, Little Me Time.
Even though he had already recorded all the other albums in his home studio, this one was not. According to critics, Charles Latham’s Little Me Time is a mix of folk and alt-country melodies.
Love: Changes Forever
Love’s Forever Changes was released in 1967. It was the last album the rock band ever released before their bitter breakup.
According to experts like Colin Larkin, Robert Christgau and Rolling Stone, the album was a good example of psychedelia. In 2011 it earned a place in the National Recording Registry, making it one of the greatest folk albums of all time.
Sufjan StevensCarrie and Lowell
One of the finest folk artists of the modern era, Sufjan Stevens released the album Carrie and Lowell in 2015. It was the artist’s seventh album and second on this list. It shows how talented Sufjan Stevens is.
The album was released via NPR, which said it focused more on the dark, sad, and ambivalent corners of a person’s life.
Neil Young: After the Gold Rush
Neil Young, Nash, Stills and Crossby released an album called Deja Vu which was a huge success. After the success of this album, they each continued to release solo albums. Neil Young named his album After the Gold Rush.
This album featured some of the best folk music singles such as When You Dance I Can Really Love and Only Love Can Break Your Heart. In 2014, the album was listed in the Grammys Hall of Fame.
Joni Mitchell: blue
Blue by Joni Mitchell has received frequent praise and is considered one of the best folk music albums of all time. He is well known for his exploration of the complexities brought by relationships such as obsession and insecurity.
The album was released at a time when Mitchell was embroiled in relationship struggles with Graham Nash and was about to start another with James Taylor. She admits her relationship difficulties in this album.
Neil Young: Harvest
Harvest had often been considered the best album released by Neil Young. It debuted in 1972 and features several guest artists. Some of them include James Taylor, Nash, Stills and the London Symphony Orchestra.
The album achieved the most sales in 1972, with one of its singles, Heart of Gold, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Other notable folk music albums to listen to include Bringing It All Back Home by Bob Dylan, Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes, Graceland by Paul Simon, All Things Must Pass by George Harrison and Soit/Or by Elliot Smith.
These are the folk music albums to listen to if you appreciate quality and good music.