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Independent Folk Music

Each country has their own folk music, but the genre folk music usually refers to American and British music that’s been passed through generations by oral tradition. It's simple, acoustic-based music that spins everyday events and common people into mythic status. Many traditional folksongs have no known author - they simply evolved over the years. Most of the earliest recorded folk music was of this nature, but with Woody Guthrie, topical and protest folk music began. Still, many artists, including the Weavers and Pete Seeger, mixed traditional songs with newer material, either written by the artists themselves or contemporary musicians. Initially, Bob Dylan functioned in that style. However, Dylan’s second album relied entirely on original material, and is considered to have ushered n the modern era of folk, where most performers sang their own material, and only occasionally sang covers of traditional songs.



Ian Alexy

Jazzy folk singer/songwriter.

Mike Anderson

Folk performer and educator.

Mel Annala

Rural roots, Americana, and familiar country folk.

Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem


The Bills


Patty Blee

Americana Roots - county/folk/rock.

The Brass Kings

The bermuda triangle of old-time, latin and experimental music from jug-band swing to improvisational ragas.

The Brimsek Brothers

A unique blend of rock and folk music.

Chuck Brodsky


Greg Brown

Folk poet.

Rodney Brown

Singer/songwriter making music for children as well as adults.

Bill Bulinski

Former member of the sixties band the Electras and founding member of The Greaseballs doing instrumental folk and Celtic.

Bruce Burnside

Award-winning singer/songwriter playing Americana, traditional, folk, bluesgrassy folk and childrens music.

Eddie Jeff Cahill

Blend of renaissance, folk and blues.

Eva Cassidy

Eclectic artist performing folk, blues, gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop/rock.

Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons

A blend of 60s soul, New Orleans swagger, and good old rock n' roll.

Steve Cloutier

Minnesota guitarist/singer/songwriter.

Eunice Collette

Minnesota folk singer/songwriter.

Justin Curtis

A contemporary Americana mix of hillbilly, honky-tonk, folk, and other roots styles.

dancing Light

Contemporary folk from husband/wife acoustic duo.

Anjuli Dawn

Minnesota folk singer/songwriter with a meaningful hook.

de Elliot Brothers

Jugband blues, ragtime, folk, and humorous Northland songs.

Ani DiFranco

Self-described "songwriter, musicmaker, storyteller, freak."

Pat Donohue

One of the most listened to finger pickers in the world.

Glen Everhart

Personal folk songs.

Fellows 2 Trio

Piano and acoustic guitar driven 2-piece bringing original music with a folk/rock/blues/country flavor.

Aaron Flinn

Folk/americana singer/songwriter.

R. Mark Fogelson

The songs of R. Mark Fogelson capture this essence of traditional Folk by focusing on human stories, emotions and triumphs.

Fyder and Everhart

Minesota regional folk songs.

Laura Gauthier

A blend of folk, rhythm and blues, jazz, pop, retro rock and blues.

Germaine Gemberling

Folk-rock and country singer/songwriter.

John Gorka

The preeminent male singer-songwriter of the New Folk Movement.

The Granary Girls

Folk music with an activist edge.

Green River Outfit

A progressive approach to traditional music and genre-bending versions of contemporary tunes.

Arlo Guthrie

Musician, singer, and composer, and the son of folk singer and composer Woody Guthrie.

The Gypsy Prophets

Minnesota folk artists.


Finnish-American musicians Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman.

Phil Heywood

Minnesota award-winning folk guitarist.

Bruce Holmes

An award-winning songwriter with a range of musical styles.

Paul Imholte

Blends country hoedowns, enchanting Celtic melodies, classical transcriptions for folk instruments, humorous songs, and treasured ballads.

Michael Johnathon

Folksinger, songwriter, concert performer, an author and has a worldwide radio audience approaching a million listeners each week.

Prudence Johnson

American jazz and folk vocalist and a regular guest on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion.

Patty Kakac

Folk Singer/Songwriter.

Lucy Kaplansky

Folk Singer/Songwriter.

Rod Kinny

Take the folk out of James Taylor and stuff that hole with a little 70s amorous pop and 60s concientiousness; there's Rod Kinny.

Larry Koski

Original novelty songs about everyday life.

Peter Mayer

Folk singer/songwriter.

Robi Meyerson

Folk from Northern Minnesota.

Jim Miller

>Singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddler, harmonicist, interpreter of traditional blues, bluegrass, folk, country and other ethnic flavored genres.

Michael Monroe

Powerful style of acoustic folk, reggae and jazz.

Kristi Morris

Singer, songwriter, and guitar player from Kentucky.

Neal & Leandra

Contemporary folk singer/songwriters.

Peter Ostroushko

Award-winning fiddle and mandolin player playing folk, roots, celtic, jazz, new age, and classical music.

Brian Peterson

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based singer-songwriter.

Michael Quinn

Folk/rock with songs that have been compared to Tom Petty, Van Morrison, and the Band.

Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses

6 piece "string band" that specializes in high-energy, modernized versions of old songs taken from Americana and Roots & a healthy dose of original music.

Ann Reed

Minnesota folk singer, songwriter, composer and storyteller.

Kim Rose

Brand of folk that crosses over into rock, country, and blues.

Claudia Schmidt

Classic jazz vocals and folk.

Becky Schlegel

Bluegrass, folk and pop.

Harriet Schock

Singer/Songwriter, award winning songwriter.

Todd Snider

Folk singer/songwriter.

Snowy River

Old instrumental favorites.

Sara Softich


Sue Spaeth

Minnesota Iron Range local.

Spiritwood Music Northwoods Ensemble

Folk and Celtic instrumentals featuring Spiritwood Music's award winning string musicians, including Pat Surface, Eli Bissonett, and Mary LaPlant.

Mary Stoyke

Contemporary folk singer/songwriter.

Pat Suface

Folk and gospel artist with a peaceful blend of thought-provoking lyrics and beautiful melodies.

Aaron Tank

Singer/songwriter with a long guitar and voice.

Larry Unger

Banjo and guitar player extraordinaire, specializing in waltzes, fiddle tunes and dance tunes.

Jerry Vandiver

Folk and country singer/songwriter.

Warm Women of the North

A group of wild and wonderful women folk singer/songwriters.

Dennis Warner

Minnesota folk singer/songwriter.

Brenda Weiler

Award-winning folk singer/songwriter.

Steve West

Unique blend of folk, pop and rock.

Jack Weston

Blend of folk and country.

Rob Wheeler

Folk music that explores life to its fullest.


Glorious harmonies by a trio of golden-voiced women.

Wood's Tea Company

Acoustic group that performs fiery Celtic tunes, bluegrass, sea shanties, and American folk songs.


Indie, folk and swing by Duluth songwriting duo of Sara Softich and Jason Wussow.

Michael Young

Acoustic singer/songwriter.

The definition of folk music today varies depending on who is talking and in what context. Some prefer to think of folk music as an umbrella which covers blues, Cajun music, ballads, and "rooted" music from around the world, along with the music of the contemporary singer-songwriters. Others see themselves as acoustic singer- songwriters with rock, jazz, or other influences, and "folk" is the community to which they belong.

In record stores, CDs placed under the folk label are usually acoustic singer-songwriters with a few bluegrass and acoustic blues artists. Perhaps the best understanding of folk music is that it is music of the people - music accessible to people which they can usually sing and play themselves.

Folk music can usually be broken down into two main styles - traditional folk (including artists such as Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, and Leadbelly) and contemporary folk (including artits such as Bruce Cockburn, The Limeliters, and Christine Lavin).

Independent Music From Independent Bands and Musicians

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