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Folk Alley Listener Poll - Best of 2013


Best of 2013 Folk Alley's Best of 2013 Listener Poll

2013 was another great year for new folk, roots and Americana music, and you let us know your top picks for the best of the year!

Below are the Top 20 results of this year's Folk Alley Listener Poll. 

The results of this poll, along with our staff & host picks will be featured in our year-end, Best of 2013 side stream that will launch shortly after Christmas.

Our host and staff lists will be posted later this week!


Click HERE to see last year's Listener Poll results.

Click HERE to see Folk Alley host & staff picks from 2012.

1Elephant RevivalThese Changing SkiesItz Evolving Records / Thirty Tigers
2Emmylou Harris & Rodney CrowellOld Yellow MoonNonesuch
3Aoife O'DonovanFossilsYep Roc
4Sarah JaroszBuild Me Up From BonesSugar Hill
5Jason IsbellSoutheasternSoutheastern Records/Thirty Tigers
6Milk Carton KidsThe Ash & ClayAnti-
7Civil WarsThe Civil WarsSensibility Recordings/Columbia Records
8Guy ClarkMy Favorite Picture Of YouDualtone
9TillersHand on the PlowMuddy Roots Music Recordings
10David FranceySo Say We AllLaker Music/Red House Records
11Patty GriffinAmerican KidNew West Records
12Anais Mitchell & Jefferson HamerChild BalladsWilderland Records
13Steve Martin & Edie BrickellLove Has Come For YouRounder Records
14Pharis & Jason RomeroLong Gone Out West BluesLula Records
15Tim O'Brien & Darrell ScottMemories and MomentsFull Skies
16The Lone BellowThe Lone BellowDescendant Records
17Richard ThompsonElectricNew West Records
18The Stray BirdsEcho SessionsThe Stray Birds
19Joy Kills SorrowWide Awake (EP)Signature Sounds
20Slaid CleavesStill Fighting the WarMusic Road Records

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Very cool to see everyone I voted for made the list!

Posted by Scott Rubin on December 20, 2013

YAY: Guy and Slaid are amongst my faves this year, too! One of my favorite festival memories from 2013 was hearing Slaid perform Texas Love Song, and his great yodelling (at altitude!)! Also glad to see up-and-comers Sarah, Aoife, and Elephant Revival amongst the best.

Posted by Nina Dropcho on December 19, 2013

I agree with the Ben Bullington being included. There's a songwriter who deserves to be known and remembered. The Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot box deserves a mention, too.

Posted by Duke Lang on December 18, 2013

Great list but so pleased to see Elephant Revival #1! My favorite band E V E R. Watching them blossom, grow and just keep getting better is a true joy. Wonderful folks, incredible musicians.

Posted by Frances on December 17, 2013

Saw Elephant Revival and Slaid Cleaves this year. Phenomenal performers and musicians. Hope to see a few more this year. Can never get enough of roots music and real musicians.

Posted by Jim on December 17, 2013

Bill - We didn't add the new Son Volt to Folk Alley, but we are welcoming write-in votes for 2013 releases. Joe Pug's latest CD came out in 2012, so it was listed on last year's ballot.

Posted by Linda on December 16, 2013

Run Boy Run has my vote with So Sang the Whippoorwill. Original vocals and instrumentals!

Posted by Alis on December 16, 2013

Deb Talan = great CD!

Posted by on December 16, 2013

Would have voted for Son Volt and Joe Pug were they on the list.

Posted by Bill Revill on December 16, 2013

Too many good acts to vote for only ten!

Posted by Scott Rubin on December 16, 2013

Hey Mavis - Love them - Rocked it at the Paw Paw!

Posted by Michael W on December 16, 2013

Wonderful CD. Great songs and great voice.

Posted by Marian on December 16, 2013

Check out Ben Bullington. His latest is co produced with Will Kimbrough and features Mary Chapin Carpenter and Bill Payne. Songs are outstanding. Ben died Nov. 18th - be good to see his songs live on.

Posted by Joanne Gardner on December 16, 2013

Hi M.K. -- Shovels & Rope was a 2012 release. The albums on this years 'ballot' are the 2013 releases we've added to Folk Alley (so far.) --- We love Shovels & Rope, too, but they were on last years list.

Posted by Linda on December 16, 2013

I LOVE Ray LaMontagne - God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise. Also, no Shovels & Rope on here? American Kid is amazing.

Posted by M.K. Wilkie on December 16, 2013

Favorite album not on your list: Honeytown, Edgar Allan Crow Brilliant Americana/folk/gospel/fiddle/harmonies

Posted by Jeff on December 16, 2013

Elephant Revival and the new Devil Makes faves of the year!!

Posted by Marc on December 16, 2013

Elephant Revival has had me since 2008. Their music is transcendental, and brings the very best and deepest of my soul forth.

Posted by Robin on December 15, 2013

Love Elephant Revival. Their music resembles the beautiful spirits the members of the band are. The music will bring you peace!

Posted by Julie on December 15, 2013

Elephant Revival captivates me & takes me on glorious, eery, beautiful, haunting, spiritual rides. Many days, I cannot ask anything more from music. They do it for me!

Posted by John on December 15, 2013

This was VERY difficult! My brain is still arguing with itself! I just Love Elephant Revival SO much, I HAD to... ;)

Posted by Brad Sittloh on December 15, 2013

Thoughtful, hopeful music. They are all so wonderfully wonderful!

Posted by Judith on December 15, 2013

elephant revival is the truth. i've seen them live about 9 times in the past few years, and every single show is like being at church, if you worship at the church of all that is beautiful and holy about just being alive and human. "down to the sea" fills me with tears every time and i feel like i'm going to discorporate. love love love ER!

Posted by leah on December 15, 2013

Elephant Revival's composition, variety, and musicality was most impressive in 2013.

Posted by Kevin on December 15, 2013

What a great group of artists! Elephant revival is and has been my one of my favorite bands ever since I saw them at Harvest Festival in Ozark, AR in 2011! Changing skies is awesome from beginning to end!

Posted by Dave on December 15, 2013

Wow! What a list! So many great artists. However, Elephant Revival got my vote (and deserves it). Great musicians, new, fresh, and unique.

Posted by George T on December 15, 2013

So many talented folks on this list -- love the music! Elephant Revival stands out this year for me after finding them at the Kate Wolf Music Festival. Wonderful!

Posted by Jim on December 15, 2013

Going to see Hey Mavis on New Years Eve in Peninsula at GAR Hall...can't wait...

Posted by Ed Bridge on December 13, 2013

Elephant Revival appeals to all ages and genres. Their music talent with deep, meaningful lyrics and rhythm bring joy and tears to us.

Posted by Peg on December 13, 2013

Great Album, Great Music!

Posted by Trudi Small on December 11, 2013

Honey Man, not out of the car CD player since I first slid it in there... Saw Hey Mavis live at the GAR Hall, Peninsula Ohio great show

Posted by Nancy R on December 11, 2013

Hey Mavis is Fabulous! Listen up and vote for them!

Posted by Maureen on December 10, 2013

Good luck Maya, you are truly the best. xoxo

Posted by Michele on December 10, 2013

Heather Maloney (self-titled) and Holly Williams (The Highway) not only deserve to be among the nominees but also in the top 10.

Posted by Michael on December 10, 2013

Disappointed that Heather Maloney isn't on the list. She gets my vote.

Posted by Kalo on December 09, 2013

If you haven't seen and listened to The Tillers, you really haven't heard good music!!

Posted by Uncle Dick on December 09, 2013

"Caldera" by Raina Rose should definitely be on this list....

Posted by Denis on December 09, 2013

I clicked on Patty Griffin's Silver Bell by mistake, I actually meant to click on American Kid. At any rate, I definitely believe she had the best albums of 2013. I would rate Jeff Black's newest right behind her.

Posted by Fran on December 08, 2013

GO Maya and The Ruins! Love your music.

Posted by Susanna on December 07, 2013

Love elephant revival

Posted by Brittany on December 07, 2013

Jeff Black, 'B-Sides and Confessions, Vol. 2'.

Posted by EdB on December 06, 2013

You can't forget The Wood Brothers' latest release, The Muse. Amazing artists!

Posted by Sandra Mac on December 06, 2013

P.S. Missed seeing Marshall Chapman's "Blaze of Glory" on this list!

Posted by missholly on December 06, 2013

What a great list! 2013 was a truly memorable music year!

Posted by missholly on December 06, 2013

Elephant Revival is the main reason I'm here!

Posted by on December 06, 2013

Honey Don't "Heart Like A Wheel" needs to on this list!

Posted by Tim on December 06, 2013

Elephant Revival is the tops.

Posted by Zanni on December 05, 2013

T., do you listen to Folk Alley? They get played a ton. And this is for 2013 releases...did ER come out with more than one CD this year?

Posted by Jeff on December 05, 2013

Elephant Revival should have another album listed on here! AND, E.R. should be played more, they don't get the recognition or air time they deserve.

Posted by T. on December 05, 2013

Holly Williams - The Highway I can't even take this poll seriously without Holly listed.

Posted by SONGbiscuit on December 05, 2013

Kim Richey's 'Thorn In My Heart'. She is criminally underappreciated. Each succeeding release is her best.

Posted by EdB on December 05, 2013

Can you please make the complete list available to us once we've voted? It would be nice lookup albums we haven't heard of. Thanks!

Posted by Robert on December 04, 2013

I'd like to add 2: Another Life – James Maddock and American Ride- Willie Nile

Posted by Glenn on December 03, 2013

A few 2013 suggestions for nominations: 1. William Tyler - Impossible Truth 2. Andrew Cedermark - Home Life 3. Glenn Jones - My Garden State

Posted by Michael Yoder on December 03, 2013

Slaid Cleaves always speaks from the Heart, Outstanding Vocals, & Premiere Performer all around - best album of 2013 :-)

Posted by Crusty on December 02, 2013

I, too miss the on-air folk music, as well as Matt and now-retired Jim. Weekends are NOT the same since Aug. 5...

Posted by Susan on December 02, 2013

Would like to vote for Hurray for the riff raff but no option... All nominees are deserving...

Posted by Mike Colee on December 02, 2013

Check out Pharis and Jason Ramero, a real old time sound from the heart of British Columbia. You won't be disappointed - fresh and timeless- a rare combination.

Posted by Cathryn Aune on December 01, 2013

Missing 2013 albums/artists include: Bonnie Prince Billy & Dawn McCarthy: What The Brothers Sang Brother Sun - Some Part of the Truth Lynn Miles - Downpour Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell - Turn Turn Turn Chris White & Julie Matthers- Infinite Sky My 3 vote-getters/ Tindersticks- Spirit In The Room Tift Merritt - Traveling Companion Steve Martin & Edie Brickell- Love Has Come For Us

Posted by Carl Reitz on December 01, 2013

I saw Genticorum live this summer at Eaglewood FF. Absolutely wonderful, fun and compelling. Do yourself a favour, listen to these guys and prepare to be amazed! A must listen.

Posted by Paul R on December 01, 2013

wow the Tillers what can you say brilliant we welcomed them to the Grapes in Stranraer they were amazing...hope they come back soon .

Posted by ruth eastwood on December 01, 2013

Saw The Tillers at Stranraer on their recent UK tour. Great songs, loved the banjo-pickin' Hope Hand on The Plow wins.

Posted by Grace Fenwick on December 01, 2013

So many great choices! Torn between Stray Birds, Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, John Reischman, Aoife O'Donavan and Peter Rowan.

Posted by Max on November 30, 2013

I love all this music , it's to choose but I did

Posted by Gigi Walker on November 29, 2013

The Stray Birds - so, sooo, versatile! Quite capable of building a bridge between Classical and Folk music!

Posted by Gene on November 29, 2013

Eric Bibb - Jericho Road

Posted by Pat Gee on November 28, 2013

Joy Kills Sorrow!!!

Posted by Mary Lyn on November 28, 2013

Jeff Black - B-Sides and Confessions, Vol. 2 I've been a fan of Jeff's music for over ten years and he continues to reach to the soul through his lyrics and music.

Posted by Bev Rehm on November 28, 2013

I had to go with my friends Red Tail Ring. It's not often that the band that plays your wedding reception winds up on a "Year's Best" list... "The Heart's Swift Foot" is a fine album by two wonderful musicians.

Posted by John Weaver on November 28, 2013

Slaid Cleaves was the outstanding record this year

Posted by Bob Crane on November 28, 2013

No Broken Circle Breakdown? Really? With Inside Llewyn Davis up there, I am amazed that The Broken Circle Breakdown album did not even make the list, unless it's just a very well-kept secret!

Posted by Emily Whittredge on November 28, 2013

Jeff Black-- B-Sides and Confessions, Vol. 2

Posted by Bailey Jones on November 28, 2013

Phoebe Hunt, Live at the Cactus Cafe 3.2.2013 Popped Corn Records

Posted by Phil on November 27, 2013

Poor Old Shine!

Posted by Ron on November 27, 2013

had lisa marie presley's cd "storm and grace" been listed, i would have voted for it! great roots album--wish more people knew about it. thanks!

Posted by anne davis on November 27, 2013

So happy to see the Tillers listed! They do the Ohio Valley proud.

Posted by Gail on November 27, 2013

I agree with Wilt...Bill McIver. His lyrics are topical, and I would describe "Last Man on the Mountain" as a protest song against mountaintop removal coal mining. I have heard his music in the Open Mic section of Folk Alley, not the main section. But worth a listen.

Posted by Amy Shinne on November 27, 2013

Jeff Black - B-Sides And Confessions, Vol. II

Posted by Rogerio de Avila on November 27, 2013

I ♡ the Tillers!

Posted by Lisa on November 27, 2013


Posted by Phil on November 27, 2013

Singer-songwriter Bill McIver from California. He sings about topics that matter, like the song "Red Crayons," about gun violence in USA. Check out his album "Dead Canary Road, " it was released in 2013. Meaningful lyrics...good stuff! -Wilt Mathis, OH

Posted by Wilt Mathis on November 27, 2013

Love those Stray Birds...

Posted by Marcelle Muniz on November 27, 2013

Tillers..Hand On The Plow...YEP!

Posted by Dex on November 27, 2013

I realize I have a family bias, but it seems curious to me that you've included the other 2013 Red House Records folk releases on the ballot but not Meg Hutchinson's wonderful new album "Beyond That" (released Sept. 2013). Nice to see someone else mentioned her absence as well (thanks Larry Rose).

Posted by Jamie Hutchinson on November 27, 2013


Posted by Eric Worrall on November 27, 2013

Hand on the Plow is a great album! Love the Tillers!

Posted by Jane on November 27, 2013

Go Tillers!! Love you guys!

Posted by Susie on November 27, 2013

The Tillers are amazing!

Posted by Elise on November 27, 2013

Tillers! Tillers! Tillers!

Posted by Eric on November 27, 2013

Tillers FTW!

Posted by Bill on November 27, 2013

Just saw Red Tail Ring at our folk club. Their album, "The Heart's Swift Foot" is fantastic.

Posted by Cath K. on November 27, 2013

Nothing like Maya and the Ruins. A pure voice and great talent.

Posted by Samantha on November 27, 2013

We've been following Donna the Buffalo for almost 20 years, and they keep getting better. I hope they get the recognition they deserve.

Posted by Nancy O on November 27, 2013

Glad to see the Stray Birds on the list!

Posted by Dan Kuchta on November 27, 2013

We listen to your music every day! Good luck!!

Posted by Jeff Cheek on November 27, 2013

Guy Clark! His roots run deep.

Posted by Gary Mc on November 27, 2013

Hurray for the Riff Raff deseerve a nod!

Posted by John Robinson on November 27, 2013

Honeytown Edgar Allen Crow!

Posted by Jeff Gundy on November 27, 2013

The Stray Birds are just a joy to experience. Great songs...great harmony...great music!

Posted by Malcolm on November 27, 2013

The Stray Birds #1

Posted by Courtney on November 27, 2013

I would say The Stray Birds are the best even if my nephew wasn't the bass player.

Posted by JPCorrigan on November 27, 2013

I had to go with my friends Red Tail Ring. It's not often that the band that plays your wedding reception winds up on a "Year's Best" list... "The Heart's Swift Foot" is a fine album by two wondeeful musicians.

Posted by John Weaver on November 27, 2013

Stray Birds are wonderful, if you haven't checked them out you are missing a very talented group.

Posted by Ranae on November 27, 2013

I could have voted for more than ten ! Such an abundance of great music this year .

Posted by Eva Johansen on November 27, 2013

Wintersmith by Steeleye Span is the best of 2013 for me!

Posted by Chas Gilbert on November 27, 2013

The Stray Birds and Driftwood are the two up and coming bands! No sitting on their laurels here, they are new and putting out great music!

Posted by Theresa on November 27, 2013

Eric Taylor, Studio 10; Audrey Auld, TONK; Marshall Chapman, Blaze of Glory.

Posted by JG on November 26, 2013

My vote is Artist: Annabelle Chvostek Album: Rise Label

Posted by MG on November 26, 2013

Jason Isbell! Best record of the year.

Posted by Jeff Biby on November 26, 2013

I'm still pissed at WKSU for cutting out nearly all on air folk music. No dollars from me until you put it back!

Posted by Martin Hilovsky. on November 26, 2013

2013 has truly been a great year for folk music. I voted for ten and I would likely need another ten to do justice to all my favorites I left on the list.

Posted by David Lull on November 26, 2013

The Tillers are amazing!

Posted by AG on November 26, 2013

John McCutcheon for the cd 22 Days

Posted by on November 26, 2013

What about John Paul Keith/ Don't miss a chance to see The Steel Wheels live, they will be at Merlefest again in 2014

Posted by Bill Cox on November 26, 2013

Hi, Linda here -- I added The Stray Birds EP 'Echo Sessions' to the ballot. You'll find it at the end of the list. We just added it to Folk Alley this week, so it was a little late getting on the "ballot"...but very worthy of your votes! We <3 The Stray Birds, too.

Posted by Linda on November 26, 2013


Posted by Keith on November 26, 2013


Posted by Steven Snyder on November 26, 2013

The Stray Birds Echo Sessions!

Posted by Amy F on November 26, 2013

That didn't come across correctly. Sara Hickman, Shine; Raina Rose, Caldera; Ellis, Wherever You Are; Cary Cooper, Zuzu's Petals

Posted by on November 26, 2013

Divided and United, Various Artists. My first choice album though is of course Long Gone Out West Blues by Pharis and Jason Romero...from my home province BC!

Posted by Judy Tidball on November 26, 2013

Sara Hickman, Shine Raina Rose, Caldera Ellis, Wherever You Are Cary Cooper, Zuzu's Petals

Posted by Jim Baker on November 26, 2013

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion: Wassaic Way

Posted by Louise Hoffman Broach on November 26, 2013

Jeff Black - B-Sides & Confessions, Vol. II (2013)

Posted by Amanda on November 26, 2013

All good thanks for all you do Peace Jim

Posted by Jim Williams on November 26, 2013

So many choices, so little votes! Was surprised Meg Hutchinson wasn't on the list. But you can't go wrong with Aoife.

Posted by Larry Rose on November 26, 2013

The Wood Brothers - The Muse

Posted by Pete on November 26, 2013

Spuyten Duyvil -Temptation

Posted by Suzette Ciancio on November 26, 2013

Leyla McCalla - Vari-Colored Songs. And I second the nomination for The Stray Birds - Echo Sessions. Thanks.

Posted by Dave Delay on November 26, 2013

I vote for The Tuttles with A.J. Lee - Endless Ocean Thank you!!

Posted by Paula Carrigan on November 26, 2013

THE TILLERS!! They are new classics. They'll be at Folk Alliance 2014.

Posted by Jason Galaz on November 26, 2013

Echo Sessions: The Stray Birds

Posted by Eric Muench on November 26, 2013

David Francey! He's the man!

Posted by Doug Law on November 26, 2013

Write Ins: Willie Sugarcapps/Willie Sugarcapps Wild Ponies/Things That Used To Shine Tim Easton/Not Cool Peter Cooper/Opening Day

Posted by Kelly Gilbert on November 26, 2013

David Francey has given us another collection of beautiful songs.

Posted by Kathy Schultz on November 26, 2013

2013 releases missing: Cary Cooper - Zuzu's Petals Jaron Freeman-Fox - The Opposite of Everything

Posted by Michael Wrycraft on November 26, 2013

It's like trying to pick a favorite child!

Posted by lynn on November 26, 2013

What a fine year of music...

Posted by Tim Timberlake on November 26, 2013

Various Artists- Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War put out by ATO Records

Posted by Arlene Smoler on November 26, 2013

Jason Isbell's album has spoken to me all year. An outstanding recording.

Posted by Tom Nedreberg on November 26, 2013

The CD of Maya and the Ruins is great the first time and it grows on you.

Posted by BobL on November 26, 2013

Iron & Wine "Ghost on Ghost"

Posted by Ellen on November 26, 2013

Ha Ha Tonka - Lessons

Posted by on November 26, 2013

Raina Rose - "Caldera" gets my other three votes!

Posted by Phil Collins on November 26, 2013

Although it was technically released in 2012 (December I think), Tristan Omand's Wandering Time has been receiving regular play over my speakers this year.

Posted by Scott on November 26, 2013

Jason Isbell, Jason Isbell, Jason Isbell. Cannot stop listening to Southeastern!!!

Posted by Kevin Reidy on November 26, 2013

The Sweater Set - "Oh Visitor" - The Sweater Set

Posted by on November 26, 2013

Just so much good music - really hard to choose. But with the aid of a cup of tea I managed in the end.

Posted by Jay Mitchell on November 26, 2013

Sorry I filled in my picks name and not my name… the Kat Goldman/ Red Moon Road comments were from me. Sorry again.

Posted by angela page on November 26, 2013

2013 submission - Please consider Kat Goldman - Gypsy Girl. Im a DJ in the catskills of NY and have not been this excited about someone new for a while! She has great great writing, memorable melodies, but she had less energy on the promo business. Im currently reviewing her for sing out. Also REd Moon Road should be in there - definitely, from Manitoba.

Posted by Kat Goldman - Gypsy Girl etc on November 26, 2013

Watch for Robby Hecht out of Nashville. He's coming on! Great talent. Thanks!!

Posted by Joshua Williams on November 26, 2013

Lindi Ortega, Tin Star, should be on this list!

Posted by Linda O on November 26, 2013

An electic mix! I look forward to see what's been selected.

Posted by Patricia E from San Diego on November 26, 2013

The Avett Brothers

Posted by michelle ennis on November 26, 2013

I am MOST impressed by Over The Rhine, Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz.

Posted by Richard Fohrenbach on November 26, 2013

Avett Brothers -- Magpie and Dandelion

Posted by RD Yeager on November 26, 2013

Over the Rhine's newest is the best. It gets better with every listen.

Posted by D.Frederick on November 26, 2013

Missing Colorado

Posted by Leigh Moorhouse on November 26, 2013

Such a wide eclectic mix of all that's good about the folk and country idiom. I struggled to sort out ten. I could never have picked one artist out of such a superb list

Posted by Ken Scally on November 26, 2013

Jason Isbell...the best of the year!

Posted by B. Stokes on November 26, 2013

1. Qristina and Quinn Bachand. Amazing sibling duet! 2. Sierra Hull. She is top of her game on mandolin with crystal, hypnotic vocals. Thanks! These guy are my write-ins.

Posted by Roger E. Taylor on November 25, 2013

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