When we first started dabbling with traditional folk music, it seemed we’d arrived at the bottom of a vast mountain with no easily-discernable footholds. Sure, you could head off along the Martin Carthy route, but his back-catalogue in itself was a mountain to be traversed. Other legendary gateway artists presented themselves – June Tabor, Martin Simpson, Nic Jones, the Watersons, Anne Briggs, Peter Bellamy – and more recent (it’s all relative) delights, too, in Jim Moray, Eliza Carthy, Nick Hart, Lisa Knapp, Emily Portman, Jackie Oates, and the various splinter groups of the Bellowhead family.
So much to hear. So little idea of where to start.
What we needed was a traditional folk music playlist that could help us dip a toe in and see what we were dealing with. So we started building one ourselves, initially through recommendations from other people, and then through our own developing listening habits.
You can find our traditional folk music playlist below, or on this link. If you click to follow it, you’ll stay in the know as we continue to update it.
We also have our Latest Folkish Favourites playlist, a folk music playlist for recent releases that aren’t strictly traditional folk, but sound like they were heavily influenced by it. This is regularly updated and kept to a maximum of 30 tracks at any one time, so that it stays very much up-to-date. You can open the playlist by clicking here.
Our folk music playlists
We put these playlists together on Spotify, and while we know that may be seen as controversial given the amount that Spotify pays the artists, at the moment it’s the most listened-to platform and therefore has the best chance of spreading the word about the songs and the artists performing them. It’s what we call the Spotify dilemma. We wish such a dilemma didn’t exist.
So, we see our folk music playlists as an introduction. Many people, including the writers at Tradfolk, choose to buy the music we enjoy on this playlist directly from the artists, usually via their websites or their Bandcamp pages, ensuring that they get money directly into their pockets when we listen. We encourage you to do the same. Some artists have Paypal pockets or Ko-Fi tip jars on their websites. These are also great ways to show your support.
These playlists are updated as often as possible, sometimes with recently-released performances, sometimes with legendary recordings. We try to keep them to traditional folk music, or music that has obviously been directly inspired by the tradition. There are plenty of singer-songwriter playlists out there if that’s the kind of folk music you prefer. We welcome suggestions for new additions – put them in the comments below – but please remember: this is for the tradfolkers first and foremost.
Submitting your music to our folk music playlists
We accept submissions via Submithub, which helps to support the curation of the lists and our website in general. If you’d like to submit, please click the purple banner below.
Please note that this does not guarantee inclusion but it does guarantee we’ll hear it, and remember that this is for traditional folk music rather than more generalised folk music, so we’re unlikely to accept it if it’s the latter.
Hi John , I’m hoping you might consider adding Circle’s tracks to your playlist- we are folky-choral and have a number of tracks on our two albums, as well as a new song Wintering on our EP- Very much appreciate a listen if you can. thanks
Green grows the holly
She moved through the fair