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Folk Alley Listener Poll - Best of 2017


Folk Alley's Best of 2017 - Listener Poll
It's been an amazing and inspiring year for folk, roots, and Americana music! Everything from debut and breakout releases by new artists, to brilliant masterpieces by some of our favorite songwriters, and everything in between!
We polled the Folk Alley audience over the past few weeks to find out your favorites of the year, and the results are in!
Below are the Top 50 Listener Poll results! These, along with Folk Alley hosts' and staff top picks for the year, will be included in our year-end Best of 2017 Fresh Cuts side stream available December 20th.

For now, CLICK HERE to listen on Spotify!


1Rhiannon GiddensFreedom HighwayNonesuch
2Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitThe Nashville SoundSoutheastern Records (Thirty Tigers)
3Wailin' Jennys, TheFifteenRed House Records
4Bela Fleck and Abigail WashburnEcho In the ValleyRounder Records/Concord
5I'm With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan)Little Lies (single)I'm With Her/Rounder Records
6David RawlingsPoor David's AlmanackAcony Records
7Rodney CrowellClose TiesNew West Records
8Rayna GellertWorkin's Too HardStorySound Records
9Secret Sisters, TheYou Don't Own Me AnymoreNew West Records
10Molly TuttleRise (EP)Compass Records
11Alison KraussWindy CityCapitol Records
12Steve Earle and The DukesSo You Wannabe An OutlawWarner Brothers
13Guy ClarkThe Best of the Dualtone YearsDualtone
14Willie WatsonFolksinger Vol. 2Acony Records
15Valerie JuneThe Order Of TimeConcord Records
16Bruce CockburnBone On BoneTrue North
17Infamous Stringdusters, TheLaws of GravityCompass Records
18Tim O'BrienWhere the River Meets the RoadHowdy Skies Records
19Tift MerrittStitch of the WorldYep Roc Records
20Joan ShelleyJoan ShelleyNo Quarter
21Rose CousinsNatural ConclusionOld Farm Pony Records
22Mavericks, theBrand New DayMono Mundo Recordings/Thirty Tigers
23Offa RexThe Queen of HeartsNonesuch
24Ruthie FosterJoy Comes BackBlue Corn Music
25Mavis StaplesIf All I Was Was BlackAnti
26Chastity BrownSilhouette of SirensRed House Records
27Stills and CollinsEverybody KnowsWildflower/Cleopatra
28Dori FreemanLetters Never ReadBlue Hens Music
29Ray Wylie HubbardTell the Devil I'm Getting There As Fast As I CanBordello Records/Thirty Tigers
30Slaid CleavesGhost On the Car RadioCandy House Media
31Ani DiFrancoBinaryRighteous Babe Records
32Richard ThompsonAcoustic Classics IIBeeswing
33Iron and WineBeast EpicSub Pop Records
34Amanda Anne Platt and The HoneycuttersAmanda Anne Platt and The HoneycuttersOrganic Records
35Willie NelsonGod's Problem ChildSony Legacy Recordings
36Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo'TajMoConcord Records
37Chris HillmanBidin' My TimeRounder Records/Concord Music Group
38Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon RangersThe Long Awaited AlbumRounder Records
39Shelby Lynne and Allison MoorerNot Dark YetSilver Cross Records/Thirty Tigers
40Nikki LaneHighway QueenNew West Records
41Peter MulveyAre You Listening?Righteous Babe Records
42Sera CahooneFrom Where I StartedLady Muleskinner Records
43Eilen JewellDown Hearted BluesSignature Sounds
44Julian Lage and Chris EldridgeMount RoyalFree Dirt Records
45Joan OsborneSongs of Bob DylanWomanly Hips Records
46Kris DelmhorstThe WildBlueblade Records
47Josh RitterGatheringPytheas Recordings
48Ana EggeWe Are One [single]Story Sound
49Hurray For The Riff RaffThe Navigator,ATO
50Randy NewmanDark MatterNonesuch Records

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Sorry you feel that we're "biased" and ignore West Coast artists, Mr. Meyers. I respectfully disagree. We LOVE Anna Tivel's new album and have been featuring it quite a bit over the past few months (since it came out) in the stream and in the syndicated radio show. Same for Jeffrey Martin's new one. And, Elena See wrote a nice review of it, here: John Craigie's 'No Rain, No Rose' is one of my personal favorites of the year. We played it a ton, and we did a very nice in-studio Session with him last spring: Check it out! Sorry you missed it! Feel free to DM me at with a list of West Coast artists you'd like to hear more of on FA. Happy New Year!

Posted by Linda Fahey on January 02, 2018

Once again Folk Alley ignoring west coast artists in their biased, limited presentation of folk. Anna Tivel, Jeffrey Martin, Alice DiMicele, etc all had stellar cd's in 2017. The west coast is amazing for music...time to discover folk music people...

Posted by Mike Meyer on December 29, 2017

Tom Paxton's "Boat in the Water" was one of the best albums of the year!

Posted by Robert Payne on December 08, 2017

Bill Scorzari's 'Through These Waves' is a hidden gem!! Listen & vote for it!

Posted by Bee on December 06, 2017

Rhiannon Giddens' "Freedom Highway" is my favorite album of the year!

Posted by on December 04, 2017

Original Cast Recording (Anais Mitchell) - "Hadestown: The Myth, The Musical " Robinson & Rohe - "Hunger" Heather Aubrey Lloyd - "Message in the Mess" Joe Crookston - "Joe Crookston Mama's Broke - "Count Me Wicked"

Posted by Gordon Nash on December 02, 2017

“Hands in the Dirt” by Resonant Rogues, The Love them & their music!! ❤️

Posted by Sprout on December 01, 2017

Every year provides some great music, this is no exception. I love a bunch on this list that I've heard, and I'm sure am missing some great stuff I just haven't gotten around to yet. Two I didn't see on the list: Jenny Scheinman - Here on Earth and I guess "country" is not included, but Chris Stapleton - In A Room Vol. 1 (and I'm sure Vol. 2 will be great, too!)

Posted by Rick Wellinghoff on November 28, 2017

LOVE “Perry”on Rayna Gellert’s “Workin’s Too Hard!”

Posted by on November 27, 2017

I was looking for Layla McCalla.... Warm regards Friends !

Posted by Paul Vens on November 27, 2017

Matthew Byrne--Horizon Lines

Posted by voiceofbonnebay on November 27, 2017

Limiting to ten is tough obviously ...but for me, picking just one was simple - Rose Cousins, Natural Conclusion!

Posted by Jeff Kunkel on November 26, 2017

too many great choices. I was at ten in the "J"s, had to rethink the top ten once I saw all the choices

Posted by Ed Malachowski on November 26, 2017

What a ballot. It was hard to choose just ten. My favorite of my ten picks is Happy Little Trees by the wonderful miss KC Groves.

Posted by Charlie Allen on November 26, 2017

David Olney... "Don't Try to Fight It"

Posted by Denis on November 26, 2017

For all of us old guys who lived through the 50's and 60's could you occasionally play a few of the folk songs from that era?

Posted by Mark on November 25, 2017

For all of us old guys who lived through the 50's and 60's could you occasionally play a few of the folk songs from that era?

Posted by Mark on November 25, 2017

"Americana" - Ray Davies & The Jayhawks "Insanity vs. Humanity" - James Maddock "Stargazer-" Jesse Terry "Deer Tick - Vol 1" - Deer Tick (Acoustics) "Fear & Love" - Jake Clemons - Plus the 5 above for ten. My Favorite was "The Navigator" by Hurray for the Riff Raff - Thank you!

Posted by Glenn - Brooklyn on November 25, 2017

Very difficult to limit to only 10. So much good music available. Good luck to all the artists!

Posted by Dale Sorensen on November 25, 2017

kim l - Birds of Chicago, 'Real Midnight' came out in February, 2016. It was one of our favorites from last year.

Posted by Linda on November 25, 2017

Shocked to not see Stephen Fearing's Every Soul's A Sailor on the list. It has been getting rave reviews since it came out earlier this year. Gorgeous record.

Posted by Jennifer on November 24, 2017

Birds of Chicago- Real Midnight

Posted by kim l on November 24, 2017

Is there a way to show something about artist concurrent to their selection.Something to look at while listening.DJ input is great...but more.

Posted by jerpme on November 24, 2017

CJ Jackson - Richard's album came out in September of 2016, so it would've been on last year's ballot. (Same for Sturgill Simpson.)

Posted by Linda on November 24, 2017

Where is Careless from Richard Shindell on this list? My vote

Posted by CJ Jackson on November 24, 2017

Wondered why Sturgil Simpson isn't on the list. I thought his last CD was 2017, but I guess it must have been earlier.

Posted by tom on November 24, 2017

many great ones missing from your list, Bridgitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough,Birds Of Chicago, Lucinda Williams,Carrie Elkin, Pieta Brown

Posted by david Youngson on November 24, 2017

Our Adelphi Records release, "Smile Away The Blues," by Ken Swartz and The Palace of Sin is not on the list and should be. Just got a rave review in Vintage Guitar magazine's January issue.

Posted by Mark Grissom on November 24, 2017

Serious omissions from the ballot: (1) Peter Cooper, Mac Wiseman et al. "I Sang the Song"; (2) Zoe Mulford, "Small Brown Birds."

Posted by Alan Seltzer on November 24, 2017

Really hard to choose 10

Posted by Janie Teague-Urbach on November 24, 2017

Wild Ponies Galax !!

Posted by C Havighurst on November 24, 2017

Obviously haven't listened to all of these. Molly Tuttle, now on her own more or less, is about as good as it gets.

Posted by John Rausch on November 24, 2017

Please add: Mean Mary - Blazing Amadou and Mariam - La Confusion Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas - Ports of Call

Posted by Emilia Gan on November 24, 2017

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