The Best Folk and Country Music of 2020

Looking for the best folk and country music of 2020? Look no further than this blog post! We’ve rounded up the top tunes of the year, so you can enjoy the best of the best.

Introducing the Best Folk and Country Music of 2020

We’ve rounded up the best folk and country music of 2020 so far, including artists like Bon Iver, The Highwomen, andBright Eyes.

The Best Folk Albums of 2020

2020 has been a year full of heartache and pain, but also of hope and resilience. The best folk and country albums of 2020 reflect that dichotomy, with singer-songwriters offering up songs of both personal and universal struggles. From Dolly Parton’s triumphant return to country music with her album “A Holly Dolly Christmas” to NPR Music’s top favorite of the year, Phoebe Bridgers’ “Punisher,” these are the 10 best folk and country albums of 2020.

Bonny Light Horseman – Bonny Light Horseman

drawing from both traditional and contemporary folk, the debut album from supergroup Bonny Light Horseman is a stunning work of chamber-folk that recalls the best of fleet foxes, nick drake, and Pentangle.

Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms of Surrender

On his first album for Merge Records, the veteran North Carolina singer-songwriter delivers a set of profoundly sad, cathartic folk-rock songs that reckon with mortality, addiction and depression. M.C. Taylor’s songwriting has always been candid and confessional, but he’s never before laid himself this bare: “I’m just trying not to go insane/I’m just trying to buy some time,” he sings on the gut-wrenching “Catawba.” The album is a reminder that despite the chaos of the outside world, the most devastating battles are often waged within ourselves.

The Secret Sisters – Saturn Return

With their third album, The Secret Sisters cement their position as one of the most compelling folk-country bands working today. Recorded with T-Bone Burnett, it’s a song cycle about growing up and growing older, filled with characters who are at turns wistful and regretful, hopeful and nostalgic. At its core is the question of what it means to reckon with the choices we make in life, and how to move forward even when we’re not sure where we’re going. The Secret Sisters have always been excellent storytellers, but on Saturn Return they’ve outdone themselves, crafting an album that is both classic and timeless.

The War and Treaty – Hearts Town

With their second album, 2018’s Healing Tide, married duo Michael and Tanya Trotter established themselves as one of the most compelling new voices in roots music, with a sound that combined the earnestness of classic country music with the grit and soul of vintage R&B. On their follow-up, 2020’s Hearts Town, the Trotters refine that sound even further, resulting in an album that is both intensely personal and universally relatable.

Hearts Town opens with the hushed beauty of “515 Blues,” a song written by Michael Trotter about the day his young son was diagnosed with cancer. It sets the tone for an album that is by turns heart-wrenching and healing, filled with songs about love and loss, hope and despair. Yet despite the weight of its subject matter, Hearts Town never feels like a downer; instead, it’s an ultimately optimistic album about the power of love to triumph over adversity.

The War and Treaty are not only superb songwriters; they are also gifted vocalists, with a powerful chemistry that is impossible to fake. On Hearts Town, they use those voices to craft something more than just a collection of songs; they have created a document of hope and healing that will resonate long after the last note has faded away.

Yola – Walk Through Fire

from the U.K., offers up one of the richest, most country-infused brand of folk music I’ve ever heard. It’s that classic sound that immediately makes you think of artists like Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams, but with a modern twist. Yola’s voice is absolutely incredible – she can sing with the fiery passion of a gospel singer one moment, and then turn around and deliver a heart-wrenching ballad the next. The production values on this album are top-notch as well, giving the songs an emotional heft that really brings them to life. If you’re a fan of any kind of roots music, you need to check out Yola’s Walk Through Fire.

The Best Country Albums of 2020

It was a great year for country music. We saw a lot of great albums released in 2020, and it was tough to narrow it down to just 10. But we did it! Here are our picks for the best country albums of 2020.

Ashley McBryde – Never Will

Ashley McBryde’s “Never Will” is one of the best country albums of 2020. Released in April, the album features 11 tracks that showcase Ashley’s incredible vocal talent and songwriting ability. From the heart-wrenching ballad “One Night Standards” to the upbeat and infectiously catchy “Hangin’ On,” “Never Will” is a must-listen for any country music fan.

Brandy Clark – Your Life Is a Record

In a year defined by isolation and loss, some of the most transporting music came from country artists. These are our favorite albums from the genre in 2020.

At a time when many of us were feeling adrift, Brandy Clark released an album that felt like a steadying force. Your Life Is a Record is centered around the idea of home, and what it means to find your place in the world. “I’d Rather Be Sad” is a perfect example: It’s a wistful ballad about longing for what might have been, but it’s also shot through with hope and resilience. “Maybe I’m not supposed to find my way/ Maybe I’m just supposed to walk astray,” Clark sings. “But I’d rather be sad than lost.” It’s a beautiful sentiment, expressed with sensitivity and intelligence throughout this excellent album.

Dierks Bentley – Riser

Dierks Bentley’s eighth studio album, ‘Riser,’ is a rootsy, reflective country record anchored by the singer’s divorce and the untimely death of close friend and collaborator, Curtis Wright. Riser is also a celebration of life, love, and friendship, as well as a tribute to the healing power of music. The album features guest appearances by Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Jerry Douglas, and Sam Bush.

Ingrid Andress – Lady Like

If country radio has been anything like our Spotify Discover Weekly playlists lately, two artists have been inescapable: Maren Morris and Ingrid Andress. The former’s GIRL and the latter’s Lady Like, both released in early 2019, have been on constant rotation, each collecting acclaim (Morris won the Grammy for best country album) and a string of hits. So it’s fair to say that expectations were high for Andress’ follow-up, due out this spring.

The Colorado-born, Nashville-based singer, who signed to Warner Music Nashville in 2018 after a stint at Atlantic Records, has more than lived up to the hype with her new album, We Made It Through the Night. Co-produced by Andress with Sam Deaton and Jay Joyce, the 11-track collection is an assured step forward, with the singer’s songwriting taking center stage as she chronicles a wide range of emotions, from heartbreak to hope.

Lead single “Both” is a tender ode to maintaining hope in a relationship against all odds (“We made it through the night / When everybody said we wouldn’t make it through”), while “Work of Art” is a defiant kiss-off to an ex (“You said I was your work of art / But you don’t know how to love”). On “Life of the Party,” Andress takes a page out of Morris’ playbook with a celebratory anthem about being content in your own skin (“I don’t need no one to tell me who I am”).

Andress’ carefully crafted lyrics are complemented by her intuitive understanding of melody; nearly every song on We Made It Through the Night feels like it could be a radio hit. But what really sets the album apart is Andress’ voice, which is equal parts sweet and salty, vulnerable and tough. It’s a voice that sounds both classic and modern, like something you might have heard on country radio in the ’90s or ’00s (think Shania Twain or Faith Hill) but with a freshness that feels entirely of this moment. In other words: It’s exactly the kind of voice we need right now.

JP Saxe – Hold It Together

Saxe’s debut album, released in March 2020, is a collection of vulnerable and heartfelt love songs. The Canadian singer-songwriter first gained attention with his 2018 single “The Few Things,” and he has since collaborated with Julia Michaels, Hailee Steinfeld, and Khalid. Hold It Together is an intimate album that explores the ups and downs of relationships with raw emotion.

The Best Folk Songs of 2020

The year 2020 has been a whirlwind, and music has been one of the few constants that has kept us all going. From Billy Strings to Dolly Parton, there has been no shortage of great music to help us get through these tough times. Let’s take a look at some of the best folk and country songs of 2020.

“All the Good Times” – The War and Treaty

The War and Treaty’s “All the Good Times” is a rollicking, old-fashioned country waltz that would have sounded at home on any jukebox in the 1950s. The music is pure honky tonk, with a fiddle and steel guitar weaving around a playful vocal duet between Michael and Tanya Trotter. But the lyrics are firmly rooted in the present, with references to Donald Trump, gun violence, and the #MeToo movement. “All the Good Times” is a reminder that even in dark times, there’s always room for a little hope and joy.

“Bonny Light Horseman” – Bonny Light Horseman

This track, “Bonny Light Horseman,” is taken from the self-titled debut album of the trio Bonny Light Horseman. The group is made up of Anais Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman, and their sound has been described as “arootsy blend of folky harmonies, classic country instrumentation, and modern pop production.” The album was released in January 2020 to critical acclaim.

“Can’t Hide” – The Secret Sisters

The song “Can’t Hide” is from The Secret Sisters’ album “Saturn Return.”

“Can’t Hide” is a light-hearted, upbeat folk song with twangy guitars and harmonizing vocals. The lyrics are about a young woman’s infatuation with a boy, and her belief that he is her “destiny.”

The song has been described as “catchy” and “infectious,” and has been praised for its harmonies and catchy chorus.

“For the Sake of My Heart” – Hiss Golden Messenger

“For the Sake of My Heart” is a song by Hiss Golden Messenger. It was released as a single on September 25, 2020. The song peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

“Hearts Town” – The War and Treaty

We included this song on our folk songs of 2020 playlist, and it’s no surprise that it ended up being one of our favorites. “Hearts Town” is a perfect example of the kind of song The War and Treaty excel at: Prayers for love and healing, set to a soaring melody that would fit in perfectly at a country church service or a rousing hoedown. It’s one of the many highlights on the band’s terrific album, Hurtin’ (The War and Treaty), which is full of spiritual anthems like this one.

The Best Country Songs of 2020

2020 was a great year for country music. Many artists released new music, and there were a lot of great songs to choose from. Here are some of the best country songs of 2020.

“Die from a Broken Heart” – Maddie & Tae

“Die from a Broken Heart” is a song co-written and recorded by American country music duo Maddie & Tae. It was released to radio on October 7, 2019 as the lead single from their extended play One Heart to Another. The song was written by Maddie Marlow, Taylor Dye, Jonathan Singleton and Brad Tursi.

“Die from a Broken Heart” is a mid-tempo ballad about the heartbreak of a failed relationship. The song’s narrator reflects on a past lover and all the nights she spent crying herself to sleep after he left her. She states that she will never let herself get hurt like that again and vows to “die from a broken heart.”

The song received critical acclaim from music critics, many of whom praised its relatable lyrics and catchy melody. It became Maddie & Tae’s first number one single on both the Billboard Country Airplay chart and the Mediabase chart in December 2019. The song was also nominated for Single of the Year at the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards.

“Gulfstream” – Ingrid Andress

“Gulfstream” is a song by Ingrid Andress, released as the lead single from her debut studio album, Lady Like. The song was produced by Derik Hultquist and co-written by Andress, Sam Ellis and Derrick Anderson.

“Gulfstream” is a country pop song with elements of folk music. The song’s lyrics discuss being in a relationship with someone who is always traveling and never in one place for very long.

The song was generally well-received by music critics. Many praised its country pop sound and Andress’ vocal performance. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making it her first top ten single on a major country music chart.

“I Hope” – Gabby Barrett

“I Hope” is a song co-written and recorded by American country music singer Gabby Barrett. It was released on March 5, 2020 as the lead single from her debut studio album, Goldmine. The song was written by Barrett, Zach Kale, Jon Nite, and Chase McGill. “I Hope” peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and at number three on the US Billboard Country Airplay chart.

“More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress

Written by Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis and Derrick Southerland, “More Hearts Than Mine” is a song about unrequited love and the difficulty of watching the one you love move on with someone else. The song was released in February of 2020 and quickly rose to the top of the country charts, becoming one of the year’s most popular songs.

The lyrics tell the story of a woman who is in love with a man who is in love with someone else. She knows that she can never have him for herself, but she can’t help but hope that someday he will realize that she is the one for him. The song is sad and beautiful, and Ingrid Andress’s vocals are perfect for conveying the emotion of the lyrics.

If you’re looking for a country song that captures the heartbreak of unrequited love, “More Hearts Than Mine” is the perfect choice.

“Never Will” – Ashley McBryde

If there’s one thing Ashley McBryde knows how to do, it’s write a heart tugging ballad. “Never Will” is no exception – a beautiful, emotional song about the pain of a crumbling relationship. The fiddle and steel guitar give the track a classic country feel, while McBryde’s powerhouse vocals add a touch of modernity. It’s the perfect song for anyone who’s ever had their heart broken.

Keyword: The Best Folk and Country Music of 2020

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