American folk music is rich in diversity and tradition. Unlike other areas of folk music, American folk musicians are seen with country music, gospel and even Native American styles. Those that are unfamiliar with this type of music may be surprised to learn those that are included in the genre.
This Land is Your Land
Woody Guthrie penned the lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940. While the song was written in 1940, the first time it would be recorded was in 1944. This is an iconic folk song that has been listed among the most popular of all time. Woody would go on to form the folk group the Almanac Singers and paved the way for many other folk musicians.
All My Trials
All My Trials is a piece that was sang by dozens of popular musicians. This recording was so prevalent because it was sang during social protests in the 50s and 60s. Iconic names, such as Anita Carter, The Seekers and Bob Gibson all recorded their own renditions of the song.
Named after one of America’s greatest folklore heroes, John Henry featured songs have been recorded by some of the biggest names in music history. Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bruce Springsteen are household names that have had songs recorded with John Henry as their basis. Other big names such as Fiddlin’ John Carson and Cuff the Duke are seen singing folk songs dedicated to John Henry as well.
The Civil Rights era brought forth a slew of folk music. One of the most popular was dubbed “Thirsty Boots.” Eric Andersen penned this song and it appeared on his 1966 album. This is a look into events that shaped the country and is continually named one of the top folk songs of all-time.
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Bob Dylan is a legend and Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right propelled his career into further fame appearing on his album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” Covers of this song are vast with several dozens of folk music’s biggest names creating their own renditions. Among these are The Four Seasons, Johnny Cash, Elvis, The Folkswingers, Billy Brag and dozens more.
The Carter Family are folk music legends and their group revitalized a 1860s song called “Wildwood Flower.” June Carter added the song to her album “June Carter Cash.” The song has been listed as one of the top 50 folk songs of all-time.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
Peter Paul and Mary may get all the credit for bringing Leaving on a Jet Plane, but John Denver originally wrote the song. Known as the biggest song to be released by Peter Paul and Mary, Leaving on a Jet Plane is among the most famous of all American folk songs and has two of the biggest names in folk history attached to it.
Many genres mixed into the folk music category and the world’s biggest names can be seen intertwined with folk. From Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash to John Denver and Woody Guthrie, folk music is filled with soul.