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Listener Poll - Favorite Music of 2010


Top CDs of 2010

The results are in!  2010 was another amazingly rich year in the folk and roots music world, with some of the best new music released in any genre.

Over a two week period, we asked Folk Alley listeners to vote for up to 10 of their favorite 2010 releases that we featured this past year. 

Below are the top 25 results of our Folk Alley Top CDs of 2010 Listener Poll!

These CDs, along Folk Alley host and staff favorites, will be featured in our Year-End Best of 2010 side stream that will be available right after Christmas.

Click here to see Folk Alley host and staff picks for 2010.
Click here to see more Folk DJ and music critic top picks for 2010.

1Carolina Chocolate DropsGenuine Negro JigNonesuch
2Crooked StillSome Strange CountrySignature Sounds
3Patty GriffinDowntown ChurchCredential
4Natalie MerchantLeave Your SleepNonesuch
5Gilkyson, Gorka & KaplanskyRed HorseRed House Records
6Andrew & Noah Van NorstrandAll The Good SummersGreat Bear
7Mumford & SonsSigh No MoreGlassnote Entertainment Group LLC
8Mary Chapin CarpenterThe Age of MiraclesZOE Records
9Lonesome River BandStill LearningRural Rhythm
10The Honey DewdropsThese Old Rootsself
11Tim O'BrienChicken & EggHowdy Skies
12Hey MavisRed WineStellada
13Justin Townes EarleHarlem River BluesBloodshot records
14Jakob DylanWomen and CountryColumbia
15Joy Kills SorrowDarkness Sure Becomes This CitySignature Sounds
16The Infamous StringdustersThings That FlySugar Hill
17Amelia CurranHunter HunterSix Shooter Records
18The Chieftains featuring Ry CooderSan PatricioHear Music
19Peter Rowan Bluegrass BandLegacyCompass
20Darrell ScottA Crooked RoadFull Light Records
21Karan Casey & John DoyleExiles ReturnCompass
22Bob DylanThe Witmark Demos 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9) SamplerColumbia/Legacy
23Ashley WellsMama's Skirtunsigned
24Mary GauthierThe FoundlingRazor & Tie
25The WeepiesBe My ThrillNettwerk

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Posted by Chris on May 31, 2017


Posted by Chris on May 31, 2017

Unbelievable voice and emotion.

Posted by Craig Kyle on January 09, 2013

an amazing list only at Folk Alley!! you gus should make a compilation. thnaks jordan

Posted by Jordan Trigona on January 25, 2011

I missed the survey, but recently acquired Fistful of Mercy's album, As I Call You Down. Very good and I can recommend it to the gang at FA.

Posted by Jon Chandler on January 18, 2011

I love everything off the list that I am already familiar with and now have some hours to put in catching up with the others. It does strike me that, inevitably, there are a lot of very deserving candidates from across the pond that more US listeners might like to check out. In particular, from last year, two very English-sounding songwriters come to mind: Martha Tilston with Lucy and the Wolves and Chris Wood with Handmade Life. All in all, it was a very strong year!

Posted by Markef on January 15, 2011

I'd like to thank AMA and Folk Alley, NPR for giving what the rest of the world is missing, the best of the best.

Posted by Kendall Spears on January 15, 2011

Off all the musicians in your Top CD's, the one that overlaps with my Top Ten is Darrell Scott. You won't find a more passionate, gifted, heartrending songwriter than him. And Crooked Road is a double disc! Must buy. Tamara Lewis KBCS Programmer Seattle, WA

Posted by Tamara Lewis on December 24, 2010

I loved "Mama's Skirt" and Ashley's singing! Everybody should listen to this CD. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Posted by Helen on December 23, 2010

If you haven't heard Andrew and Noah Vanorstrands All Good Summers - you should make time to listen. It will blow your socks off!

Posted by Liz Michaels on December 23, 2010

I became a huge fan of Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald the first time I heard their exceptional music. Both the lyrics and harmonies will amaze you. Their newest CD "From the Fire" has touched my heart and will touch yours too! What a great gift for this special holiday season!

Posted by Cathy Gillman on December 23, 2010

Paul and Eleanore's "From The Fire" is an exquisite composition of lyrics and harmonies. Brilliantly executed in touching the ears, heart, mind and soul of the listener. The profound lyrics are only equaled to the perfection of the vocal harmonies. Give yourself a wonderful gift and get this CD.

Posted by Donna Natali on December 23, 2010

Andrew & Noah's~ All the Good Summers~ Makes me smile :-) Mike & Ruthy's~ Million to One... another smile :-)

Posted by Kim Yerton on December 22, 2010

Paul Kamm and Marie McDonald are simply wonderful!

Posted by Roger Nehring on December 22, 2010

Punch Brothers, "Antifogmatic"

Posted by Jessica Stephens on December 22, 2010

The words to Mama's Skirt struck my heart the very first time I heard it and continue to touch me each time I hear it.

Posted by Diane on December 22, 2010

Hey Mavis/ Red Wine is amazing. Addictive is the right word for it. The songs linger and I can't wait to listen to them again. My favorite on the album is "Tell Me Lover True", an achingly beautiful ballad. As a singer songwriter in Akron, I love "New Seattle" and "Knock Me Off My Feet" is just everything I've come to love Hey Mavis for. This is just an excellent collection of songs from an extremely talented group.

Posted by Lisa Blayney on December 22, 2010

Hey Mavis' new album Red Wine was addictive from my first listen. It was like lighting the fuse of a string of firecrackers...anticipation...pow! anticipation...pow! Powerful harmonies and tight, tight music.

Posted by J.C. Spearry on December 22, 2010

Mama's Skirt by Ashley Wells is delightful. I've shared it with friends and family.

Posted by Deborah Harris on December 22, 2010

"Mama's Skirt" is such a great CD because Ashley Wells songs are written from the heart and also feels the songs as she sings them!! What a talented artist!!

Posted by Joyce Brazell on December 22, 2010

The Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand Band is packed full with layers upon layers of harmonies, rhythms and surprising phrases. The songs unfold and as I listen and ponder, it's energy that sustains me.

Posted by Gretchen Ziegler on December 21, 2010

The Weepies' Be My Thrill was one of the best that this year had to offer. But, I also think that Pieta Brown's One and All is up there too.

Posted by George Michaels on December 21, 2010

have to go with Mike and Ruthy's Million to one.....and the Van Norstrands All the good Summers A tie for first place!

Posted by Molly Mason on December 20, 2010

"Mama's Skirt" is a CD which never grows old. No matter how many times I listen to it, I am still captivated by the words, music, and Ashley Wells' voice.

Posted by Tricia on December 20, 2010

I've been playing the Van Norstrand Brother's "All the Good Summers" on loop at my office for several months now. It's a beautiful balance of earthy, clean, folk and groove. It has become a recording that (for me) evokes feelings of ethereal oneness with the musical cosmos. Very cool.

Posted by Shanda McDonald on December 20, 2010

Andrew & Noah VanNorstrand's All The Good Summers is quite possibly the best folk album, not just of the year, but ever!

Posted by Mike Case on December 20, 2010

Andrew & Noah VanNostrand released my favorite album of the year! Mike & Ruthy were a close second.

Posted by Chris Miller on December 20, 2010

For fans of Crooked Still, Joy Kills Sorrow, Nickel Creek and other modern acoustic acts, you might also enjoy "All The Good Summers" by Andrew & Noah VanNorstrand. We are very honored to be included on this list! AND I'd like to put my vote in for "Million To One" by our friends Mike & Ruthy. Awesome album.

Posted by Andrew VanNorstrand on December 20, 2010

What a great album of songs by THE LONESOME RIVER BAND, ( STILL LEARNING ). The musicians are some of the very best in the business and deserve to have the #1 BLUEGRASS CD of 2010. Done wore out 1 CD and had to buy another!!

Posted by Tim Maxey on December 20, 2010

What a great album of songs, and the musicians are some of the very best in the business. Have done wore out one CD and had to get another!!!

Posted by Tim Maxey on December 20, 2010

" Mamas Skirt" and Ashley Well's voice encompasses a soulful compilation of heart and clarity... The best of 2010!!

Posted by Mary Owens on December 18, 2010

The absolute, very best, number one CD of 2010 - without a doubt - is Patty Griffin's Dowtown Church!

Posted by Jeff Biby on December 18, 2010

For me , it's "Hey Mavis" all the way! Great videos and catchy tunes!

Posted by Bill Dent on December 18, 2010

My top 2010 CD choices Railroad Earth,Railroad Earth, John Hartford String Band,Memories of John, Crooked Still, Some Strange Country, Bob Dylan The Witmark Demos 1962-1964.Keller & The Keels, Thief.Not on the list Yonder Mountain String Band!!!

Posted by Jim Andrews on December 18, 2010

My top 2010 CD choices Ray Lamontagne And The Pariah Dogs - God Willin´ & The Creek Don´t Rise Ryan Bingham - Junky Star Danny Barnes - Pizza Box Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues Eric Bibb - Booker's Guitar Jakob Dylan - Women And Country Jim Lauderdale - Patchwork Rive Elizabeth Cook - Welder John Prin - In Person And On Stage Ray Wylie Hubbard - A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment

Posted by Dave Bevenger on December 18, 2010

My favourite albums 2010. 1. Chris Wood - Handmade Life 2. Darrell Scott – A Crooked Road 3. Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson – Gift 4. Annemarieke Coenders & Wim Sebo – Go 5. Krista Detor – Chocolate Paper Wings 6. Joy Kills Sorrow – Darkness Sure Becomes This City 7. Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep 8. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can 9. Allison Moorer – Crows 10. Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise

Posted by Hans Jansen on December 18, 2010

Great their music.

Posted by Monica Gallahan on December 18, 2010

See my Best of 2010 list and who received my Album of the Year Award at

Posted by Jay Minkin on December 17, 2010


Posted by Christian Rau on December 17, 2010

"Mama's Skirt" speaks to the heart and soul of this southern woman, wanting so much to find and be competent in my own independence and doing so knowing the embrace of "Mama's Skirt" will never be too far away...

Posted by KB Stroman on December 16, 2010


Posted by Stephen F Koscumb on December 16, 2010

Pine Leaf Boys...we didn't get that one either. OK. Calling to request Laura Veirs and the PLB's CDs today!

Posted by Linda Fahey on December 16, 2010

laura veirs

Posted by Chuck Auerbach on December 16, 2010

i'd also like to see the pine leaf boys on here.

Posted by James Francis on December 16, 2010

... actually, I now see it's there under "the" ...

Posted by Glen Herbert on December 15, 2010

I'd like to add the Kruger Brothers "Forever and a Day" to the list.

Posted by Glen Herbert on December 15, 2010

JTE Harlem River Blues is my number one favorite this year.

Posted by Loni Duncan on December 15, 2010

A CD missing from the list is one that is a strong candidate to be Progressive Roots Record of the Year - our Sunday night radio show on Eric Brace and Peter Cooper's "Master Sessions" with Mike Auldridge on dobro and Lloyd Greene on pedal steel is absolutely brilliant. I reviewed it in a recent Florida bluegrass e-zine avaliable on

Posted by Ken Connors on December 15, 2010


Posted by Bailey Jones on December 15, 2010

Sounds like we need to get our hands on the Laura Veirs CD! Thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by Linda Fahey on December 15, 2010

I would like to submit a vote for First Aid Kit's album called "The Big Black & The Blue".

Posted by Crystal Bourque on December 15, 2010

I second "July Flame" by Laura Veirs, unless this was one you didn't receive from the label.

Posted by Steve Johnson on December 15, 2010

If you don't see a CD that you'd like to vote for - it often just means we either didn't receive it from the label, or we passed on it.... or it was not released in 2010. In The Low Anthem's case, their most recent CD came out in 2009. Their new CD 'Smart Flesh' will be released in Feb 2011.

Posted by Linda Fahey on December 15, 2010

Where is Low Anthem?

Posted by Deb Leigh on December 15, 2010


Posted by Deb Leigh on December 15, 2010

Ed, somehow The Weepies CD was accidentally deleted from the list. I added again. Kim Richey's 'Wreck Your Wheels' in on the list - hope you voted for it!

Posted by Linda Fahey on December 15, 2010

Kim Richey. Wreck Your Wheels. She's the best. The Weepies' Be My Thrill is good.

Posted by Ed Bzomowski on December 14, 2010

Always want to include some favs like Shawn Colvin, Lucy Kaplansky, Rickie Lee Jones, Greg Brown, Christine Lavin, Nick Drake, Tracy Chapman and Brandi Carlile.

Posted by Jane Pierce on December 14, 2010

A few not on your list...Johnny Flynn, Been Listening; Laura Marling, I Speak Because I Can; Laura Veirs, July Flame

Posted by Tanya Schock on December 14, 2010

My list, in no particular order ----Carolina Chocolate Drops; Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore; Keller & The Keels; Joy Kills Sorrow; John Doyle & Karan Casey; Patty Griffin; Jakob Dylan; Grada; Joe Pug; and Amelia Curran. If I could choose more than 10, I'd add: Justin Townes Earle; Crooked Still; and Darrell Scott.... so many great CD this year!

Posted by Linda Fahey on December 14, 2010

Hi, this is Joachim from Germany, I´ve just listened to Antje´s concert, and I´m really thrilled by her beautiful singing and her authentic humor. "Dandelion" and "It´s a long way" are songs that came from heaven and are sung by an angel. I believe she is the most wonderful singing dandelion in the world. Antje, I´d love to see and hear you playing live in Germany although I know: Es ist ein weiter Weg nach Deutschland und zurück... Alles Gute für dich, liebe Grüße Joachim

Posted by Joachim Dersch on May 05, 2010

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