By Karlie Mickanuik

Never in my life did I ever think I would become a fan of folk music. I wear leather jackets and combat boots and listen to exactly the type of music you think I would. Spoiler alert: it is a lot heavier than folk music.

I was listening to the radio on my way to work one day when a bunch of folk songs started playing in a row and instead of switching to another station that played rock or alternative music, I couldn’t turn the dial. The song that stopped me you might ask?

The Setting – Ralph McTell

Something about this song caught my ears and although the majority of the song follows the same pace I started listening half way through during a soft acoustic guitar and bagpipe duo that was easy to listen to. Then McTell began singing and it is safe to say his voice is mesmerizing because I couldn’t turn it off and didnt want it to end.

Lovelight (Prelude) – Mikael G.K

It seems wrong to say I found this song off of Tik Tok because the quality and emotion of this song is far above the standards of Tik Tok but nonetheless that app is a place for people to express themselves. This album by Mikeal G.K was written and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic and has a soft home studio vibe. It really is just him and his guitar creating art.

Real Peach – Henry Jamison

This one is a little more alternative folk compared to just folk but is just as easy to listen to as a more standard folk song. This song is a cute little love song and I can’t seem to not smile and sway my body when I hear the chorus. This song is about being in love through any argument or fight, any cloudy day or storm.

Dark Water – The Young’uns

I don’t think I have ever managed to get through this song without getting a little misty eyed. The beginning starts off slow but when the piano and violin are finally introduced it’s a great moment. The rest of the song slowly builds up its momentum to create a beautiful nearly seven minute experience.

The Irish Peasant Girl – Andrew Stein feat. AmaLee

This story driven folk song is actually a cover of an old Irish poem from the 19th century. Charles Kickham the author of the poem based his writings off of what being a peasant in Ireland was like, the joys, sorrows and customs they followed. This cover was adapted to be a duet between a male and female and was incredibly produced.

Beeswing – Grace Petrie

Petrie is a UK based folk artist who is also an activist for the LGBTQ2S+ community and is known for addressing social inequities and politics in her music. This song is from her eighth album Queer as Folk and much like a majority of her songs on this album she re-worked songs from other artists to represent being queer. This song is about two girls falling in love in a small town. This album is a celebration for the LGBTQ2S+ community but is also a reminder of the work still needed to be seen as equals.

Soldier, Poet, King – The Oh Hellos

This song also blew up on Tik Tok as well as the animation community of the internet. There are hundreds of animated music videos using this song as inspiration. This celtic-esc folk song is catchy and will definitely get stuck in your head.

Hit My Limit – Ayla Brook and The Sound Men

This band definitely has a roots rock sound but I think this song belongs on this list. Rock did originate from folk music of course. This song is easy to sing along to and incredibly catchy. Ayla Brook and The Sound Men is a local band from Edmonton and you can read more about them here.

Téir Abhaile Riu – Celtic Woman

This old Irish folk song means ‘go home with you’. This version of the song mixes lyrics in English and Gaelic. The meaning of the original song is up for debate defending on who translated from old Irish to Gaelic but follows the theme of teasing a girl named Mary for her relationship with the piper. This is definitely a fun song to listen to. I recommend dancing in a field while listening to it.

In Hell I’ll Be Good Company– The Dead South

This Canadian band is a mix between gritty punk and traditional bluegrass-folk. Any fans of a good banjo will love this song as it is the primary instrument on the track. The meaning behind this song is a bit of a mystery but the running theory is that it is told from the point-of-view of an abusive husband who was killed by his wife. He is both proud she stood up to him but also disgusted she killed him and sent him to hell.