American Folk/Bluegrass music to die for

Over the years, I have developed a sincere appreciation for American folk music that crosses a variety of genres. Here is a list of some of the recordings (mainly instrumental) that really opened my eyes to this hybrid sound that I have grown to truly embrace.

Appalachia Waltz - Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor. The first album I was exposed to having this type of sound and to this day one of my most cherished recordings. A three musicians are masters of their instruments and it shows. Classical influence to this sound, very interesting and unique crossover album. Unfortunately, it will likely never make it to vinyl.

Appalachian Journey - Follow up to the above album. Alison Krauss steps in for a song or two as does James Taylor. Beautiful album.

Short Trip Home - Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall, Joshua Bell. Another outstanding album, a bit more folky than the others above and just a pleasure to listen to.

Telluride Sessions - Strength In Numbers. A must own - wonderful from start to finish. If you enjoy this genre this is one of the very best albums I have heard.

Skip, Hop and Wobble - Russ Barenberg, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas. Another not so well known new folk great. Good
recording too.

Slide Rule - Jerry Douglas. Solid performance and good recording quality.

Uncommon Ritual - Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Mike Marshall. Good mix of music from three artists with three different styles. Definitely some solid cuts.

For new folk with vocals I have heard some Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek albums which I have really enjoyed but it is the acoustic and progressive folky sound of the above recordings that really seem to move me.

I hope some of you check out the free music clips of these recordings on Amazon, maybe you will discover some different sounds that move you like they did for me.


I would also include the Dillards in the list. Back Porch Bluegrass, Pickin' and Fiddlin', Wheatstraw Suite, Tribute to the American Duck, Roots and Branches to name a few.
thanks for the tips I bought Appalachian Journey and look forward to it.

Can you rocommend anything a bit slower and quieter?

Guess I am getting old... :^D

thanks again!
I think Hot Rize "Untold Stories" is a great album.
Also check out: Crooked Still, Sarah Jarosz, Punch Brothers and Carrie Rodriguez - Good stuff!
Philjolet, I hope you enjoy Appalachian Journey as much as I do, it is one for the ages. As for slower paced music of this genre, I can't think of anything off hand. Most of what I enjoy is of the upbeat variety. You might want to try Amazon again and when you are looking at these albums scroll to the middle of the page and browse the "customers who bought this item also bought" for different suggestions.

Rel2, I will check out the Dillards recordings, I am not familiar with them.
Why not go for Bill Monroe or Del McCoury?
thanks Chris, good tip!
Here's a Bill Monroe box set that covers his whole career.
A must have for anyone wanting to dive into bluegrass music.

Modern bluegrass favorites are Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek, Ricky Skaggs and of course, the "Appalachian Journey" and "Appalachia Waltz" albums. I also want to give a recommendation to Ralph Stanley.

"Folk" music is difficult to define. I think Woody Guthrie, Odetta, Pete Seeger, early Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash are all great choices, but some people do not like these artist being called "folk musicians". As many might know, "Folk" can create long arguments. :)

I know that it's been played too much and received a tremendous amount of attention, but the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is an excellent collection of songs that cover this genre. I feel it has earned it's popularity and I highly recommend it.
Tony Furtado, Live Gypsy. Features Colin Wolcott from Oregon, a really nice live recording with great slide guitar and banjo from Tony.

I've loved Skip, Hop and Wobble for a long time. Good to see that you've got it.

If you want some fantastic fingerstyle guitar, you might try Ed Gerhardt.
Ballan, Agreed, folk music is difficult to define these days. The albums I mentioned originally are certainly a hybrid of sorts and were written with obvious outside influences derived from a variety of music genres. I don't think any of these would even be considered traditional folk, at least not by definition. Maybe I should have titled the thread "Progressive folk recordings to die for"?
Two words folks "SELDOM SCENE"
Have to agree with several already listed.

These may be from a different point of view, but great music & excellent recordings.

Jorma Kaukonen - Blue Country Heart
Bill Frisell - Nashville
Hank Dogs - half smile
Bela Fleck - The BlueGrass Sessions
Kevin Desabrais - Nothing but the Road
Jerry Douglas - anything he plays on
David Grisman Quartet or Quintet
The Infamous Stringdusters
the collaboration album by Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby
anything by Tim O'Brien
The New Grass Revival
Tony Rice
I would get the 3 "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" CDs. First is a 3 CD set [ be sure to get the remastered one, the original was unlistenable compared to the LPs] the second a single CD and the third a 2 CD set. Everyone from Mother Maybelle to Johnny Cash to Ray Acuff to whoever. I hate to admit that I am old enough to have heard Bill Monroe when Vassar was playing violin with him. Also check out the "Old and in the Way" recordings. Besides the original there are several others with alternate takes and different material that Garcia and the gang did at a local club in the 70s. Supposedly they met Vassar at the airport in California; he knew the others but knew nothing about Rock, on their way back he saw a large billboard with a Dead ad and said " Jerry, there's your picture up there" He had no idea who he was except that he was a good musician. Crooked Still is good also, their live CD has the best sound but is hard to get. I have a LOT of folk, too much to short list.
A few classics come to mind:

Death on the Mountain (Bill Watkins)
This Ring Will be My End (Loyd Turner and Family)
Mama's Grave (Dusty Mountain Boys)
City of Stone (Del McCoury)
The Hangin' Tree (Cecil Hawkins)
Our Love Died Tonight (The Pine City Ramblers)
...these are the best, but the genre is full of them.
If you like the blend of classical virtuosity and American traditional music, I've Gotta add the stuff Mark O'Connor has released under his own name. 30 Year Retrospective is good one that covers the whole gamut of his work. Heros is him playing w, you guessed it..... Another must have is David Grisman and Danial Kobiliaka, Common Chord.
2bgeorge, After listening to several clips of Seldom Scene's Live at the Cellar Door album, I can see why you recommend them. These guys had it right from the start. Thanks for the recommendation!
Thanks Chris 74 I am glad you like, the 15th and 20'th anniversary albums are very good with guest appearances by Emy Lou and Linda Ronstadt
Another name I think deceives mention is the Nashville Bluegrass and their collaborations with Peter Rowan and the Fairfield Four are pretty special.
I'll be sure to check out the Nashville Bluegrass. The Fairfield Four are just great, I own 5 different recordings of theirs on CD. I wish they had more on vinyl though. I've been having a hard time finding LP's with the Fairfield Four, which surprises me because they have been around forever.
For something a little different from what you describe, try John Fahey. His creative slide guitar compositions, which rest in traditional songs but play to modern sensibilities, may not be the type of music you're seeking, but they're contemporary American folk music that crosses genres. Definitely worth a listen if you're not familiar with him.

Check out The Watson family Tradition on the Rounder label,it is my favorite of all.
Doc and Merle Watson, Down South
Doc Watson, Old Timey Concert
Ricky Skaggs, Bluegrass Rules
New Grass Revival, Too Late to Turn Back Now or Grassroots (greatest hits)
Allison Krauss and Union Station, Live
Del McCoury, Del and the Boys
Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, Live at the Ryman
Tony Rice, Cold on the Shoulder
Garcia, Grisman, Rice, The Pizza Tapes
Grisman, Dawgology
Anything by David Grisman, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas. S'all good, as we say.
Tony Furtado, Beyond Reach (banjo--now he plays blues dobro)
Bluegrass is really best live even though it's one of my favorite genres to listen to on my system. Go to MerleFest in N Wilkesboro, NC for the hottest lineup of live bluegrass. April annually. You could see any or all of the above musicians (who are still living, of course).
Enjoy the journey!
The Steeldrivers- both of their cds are excellent
The Infamous Stringdusters- all of their discs are great
Old Crow Medicine show- more pop oriented songs, but great fun
Brian Sutton- guitar player with Chris Thile and Mark O'Connor. Sutton's solo efforts are worth checking out.
Railroad Earth- bluegrass oriented "jam band" Their most recent self titled cd is great. I also like their live disc "Elko".
Swanny76109, Doc and Merle Watson are just great, already have a couple of their live albums. Would love to make it to the Merlefest NC festival at some point.
Some suggestions:

The Gibson Brothers "Bona Fide"
Lynn Morris Band "Shape of a Tear"
JD Crowe and the New South "JD Crowe and the New South"
Johnson Mountain Boys "Live at the old Schoolhouse"

Let me know if any of those float your boat and I can recommend some more stuff.

Swampwalker, I actually own several Mark O'Connor albums, American Seasons is one I especially like. 30 Year Retrospective I have not heard but will check out for sure. Another album I really enjoy is "The David Grisman Quintet", got it on vinyl and its excellent. I'll definitely check out Common Chord.
I recommend all the John Hartford LPs on Flying Fish. "Mark Twang" is one of my all-time favorite LPs from ANY genre, and the recording is of reference quality (and some).

In the bluegrass catagory, if you are unseasoned and want and intro course...all of the volumes of "The Bluegrass Album Band" will bring you up to speed.
If you like Bela Fleck, and are interested in fusion, check out the earlier Bela Fleck and the Flecktones albums, especially the first one.

That is one I forgot about, what an allstar line up.
Another group I like is "Weary Hearts" they did not last long but they were very good. I guess if some guy named Ron Block wants to leave and go play with Allison Krause you can not second guess his decision.

yes, stellar line-up playing stellar covers. The song choice for these albums is as great as the music.
I will take JD Crowe's banjo pickin over anyone.
Instrumental Music Of The Southern Appalachians LP [Tradition Records, TLP 1007]
"Mac, Doc & Del"... Del McCoury, Doc Watson & Mac a bonus it's HDCD.

"Phillips, Grier & Flinner"...self-titled

"Just among friends"...Gerry Beaudoin Trio w/Grisman, Pizzareli & Novick
The Kentucky Colonels, David Grisman's "Home Is Where The Heart Is", most anything by The Stanley Brothers or Ralph Stanley.
Hey.. all great titles you listed.
A few suggestions for you.

1/ Music For Two.. Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer. It comes with a 45 documentary DVD that is a must see.

2/ Chris Thile.. All Who Wander Are Not Lost
Terrific instrumental CD with Jerry Douglasw, Bela Fleck and a few others guesting.

3/ The Punch Brothers Antifogmatic.
Chris Thile's band.
Get the deluxe edition with 2 CD's and a performance DVD.

4/Jens Kruger.. The Bridge

Thanks for the thread