Editor’s note: The point of more extensive genre lists is to help give shine to albums that wouldn’t make it into the overall best albums list. So, despite the rap-specific list — where ranking is still next to godliness — we’ve opted to leave the albums that appeared on the overall best list off the genre-specific lists. After all, the point of these lists is to examine the way music has changed or moved throughout the year, and our year-end framework will continue to reflect that impetus. Though it is meant to highlight the best work in this genre, hopefully, you can also make some discoveries through this list.
Folk music is a feeling more than a sound. Folk music has always been about time, and the way we make things, how we process them. In a world of chaos and disorder, the often gentle, usually soothing tempos of this genre, and its penchant for reflection, offer a space to sit and feel the impact of what is going on around us. In 2017, folk was more important than ever, and here are our picks for some of the best albums to open up that space.