AllMusic 2015 Year In Review

Favorite Folk Albums -

 Folkies had plenty to be thankful for in 2015, including the new album from progressive bluegrass band the Punch Brothers, an atypical set of lullabies from the Wainwright Sisters, the second collaboration between Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, and Glen Hansard's subtle, evocative third album.
Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts

Alasdair Roberts

The Scottish folk singer/songwriter delivers another beautifully conceived and mostly solo effort on his self-titled eighth album.

Seasonal Hire

Black Twig Pickers / Steve Gunn

Seasonal Hire

The Brooklyn go-to guitarist and the Old Dominion Appalachian roots music quartet bridge North, South, East, and West.

Ten: Songs of Ben Bullington

Darrell Scott

Ten: Songs of Ben Bullington

Kentucky-based singer/songwriter Darrell Scott's excellent tribute album to his late friend Ben Bullington, who died of cancer in 2013.

Chants for Socialists

Darren Hayman

Chants for Socialists

The prolific British singer/songwriter marries thoughtful indie pop and folk traditions to 19th century political chants by social activist William Morris.

So Familiar

Edie Brickell / Steve Martin

So Familiar

The second collaboration between Steve Martin and Edie Brickell is every bit as elegant and charming as the first.

Didn't He Ramble

Glen Hansard

Didn't He Ramble

Third solo effort from the former Frames leader is subtle but deeply passionate, with strong songs and evocative vocals.

Jake Xerxes Fussell

Jake Xerxes Fussell

Jake Xerxes Fussell

The North Carolina blues/folk singer's wonderfully understated debut is full of personality and charm.

Summoning Suns

James Blackshaw

Summoning Suns

The guitarist/composer adds singing and songwriting to his résumé, resulting in what may be the record he always desired to make.

Ambsace

James Elkington / Nathan Salsburg

Ambsace

A remarkable collection of acoustic guitar duets that is comforting, crafty, and totally captivating.

Over and Even

Joan Shelley

Over and Even

A breezy, lyrically bold, sonically beautiful soft barrage of bucolic country-folk.

Don't Weigh Down the Light

Meg Baird

Don't Weigh Down the Light

On her third solo album the songwriter streamlines her process to ascend to a new creative level in both singing and composition.

The Longest River

Olivia Chaney

The Longest River

Impressive, accomplished debut from a U.K. singer and songwriter equally comfortable with traditional and original material.

Take It Like a Man

Packway Handle Band / Jim White

Take It Like a Man

Visionary songwriter meets a band of playful virtuosos, and their collaboration brings out the best in everyone concerned.

The Phosphorescent Blues

Punch Brothers

The Phosphorescent Blues

Aided by producer T-Bone Burnett, the sophisticated progressive bluegrass outfit creates a defining record.

Tender Gold & Gentle Blue

Red River Dialect

Tender Gold & Gentle Blue

The Cornwall band's third effort is a fragile and lovely set of seaside meditations on loss, life, and nature.

Tangier Sessions

Richard Bishop

Tangier Sessions

A mysterious instrument in the hands of a great musician in a magical place make for a great recording.

Mount the Air

The Unthanks

Mount the Air

A dark storeroom of soft, piano-led balladry peppered with tasteful flourishes of upright bass, soft brush work, and spectral horns and strings.

Songs in the Dark

The Wainwright Sisters

Songs in the Dark

The progeny of folk music royalty team up for this set of lullabies, some traditional and some slightly twisted.

Perfect Abandon

Tom Brosseau / Tom Brousseau

Perfect Abandon

The singer/songwriter, his band, and producer John Parish record in an old theater in Bristol, England, around a single microphone.

The Rose of Roscrae

Tom Russell

The Rose of Roscrae

With an enormous cast, the canny singer/songwriter delivers a magnificent folk opera of Homeric proportion.