Folk music is characteristic of each country and normally consists of music which has been brought down through the ages and is connected to the culture and traditions of each country. For the purposes of this list we shall take into consideration artists who are specialists in all types of American Folk Music. You will be surprised as to how many of them achieved a great deal of fame in the popularity charts of music of all types
1. Woody Guthrie:
“This Land is My Land” is considered to be his hallmark song. He wrote for the masses, with simple words and thoughts which seemed to encompass all that the common man was thinking and feeling. He travelled all over the country with migrant workers and encapsulated their experiences and the country’s traditional ballads and lyrics within his songs. He was undoubtedly the most influential folk musician of all times.
2. Bob Dylan:
For over fifty Bob Dylan has been the patriarch of the folk music industry. Songs such as “The times they are a-changing” and “Blowing in the Wind “are all part of his repertoire and even in 2009 he produced a brand new fabulous album “Together through life “. He has performed many types of American folk music including blues, gospel and rock and roll. In 2008, the Pulitzer Prize awarded him a special citation for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”
3. Pete Seeger:
“Where all the flowers have gone” and “If I had a hammer” are songs which every folk music aficionado will be familiar with. Pete Seeger, who wrote these songs, has been responsible for the revival of interest in folk music. He has also been a major activist in various fields such as disarmament, environmental issues and civil rights. Many of his songs reflect this activism and have become staples with folk singers worldwide.
4. Joan Baez:
An unusual voice and vocal style which is unique to her, Joan Baez has been very influential in the field of folk music for many years. She has released over 30 albums and even though her music covers all genres of music such as rock and roll and blues, her forte lies in her ability to interpret songs of various songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Paul Simon among others.
Baez has performed publicly for over 50 years and has released over 30 albums. Fluent in Spanish as well as in English, she has also recorded songs in at least six other languages. She is regarded as a folk singer, although her music has diversified since she first came into fame, encompassing everything from folk rock and pop to country and gospel music.
5. Peter, Paul & Mary:
America’s most popular folk music group, Peter Paul & Mary began singing together in 1961, broke up to pursue individual careers in 1970 and rejoined in 1978. They have sung songs by all the top folk music lyricists and managed to have most of them on top of the box office lists. Their simple vocal styles and their harmony together have been responsible for their immense success.