4 of the Most Underrated Folk Musicians and Bands of the 1970s

Folk and folk rock blew up in the 1970s. It was a great era for a number of different musicians and bands. Unfortunately, many of those talented folk artists have since broken up or passed away. Luckily, their music is still remembered (and available) today. Let’s look at four of the most underrated folk bands and musicians of the 1970s!

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1. Stephen Stills

Stephen Stills deserves a spot on our list of the most underrated folk musicians of the 1970s simply because of how much he contributed to the genre. He’s still performing and putting out music today, but his contributions to folk in the 1970s through Buffalo Springfield, Manassas, and Crosby, Stills & Nash are legendary. To many, he’s the greatest guitarist of all time. Neil Young even called him a “genius” in his book Waging Heavy Peace.

2. Poco

Nobody did folk rock quite like Poco. This band came about after the disbandment of (yet again) Buffalo Springfield and was formed by Jim Messina and Richie Furay. They took a softer approach to folk rock than most, and it made them stand out from the growing number of folk rock bands in the 1970s. “Crazy Love” is essential listening in order to get a feel for their vibe.

3. Judee Sill

Judee Sill was one of the few Christian folk singers (and pianists) who had something that appealed to everyone, including those outside her faith. Her songs were heavily influenced by Bach. She explored spirituality and psychedelia in her music in a way that had not been done before. They really don’t make artists like her anymore. We recommend listening to Heart Food in its entirety.

4. Jean Ritchie

This Kentucky-born traditional folk singer was an icon. She delivered dozens of albums during her decades-long career, but None But One from 1977 is one of her very best from the 1970s. Her voice, paired with a mountain dulcimer, is otherworldly.

Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

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