Later on in December we’ll release our year end list of best folk and acoustic sessions. The end goal is a playlist of about 40 performance session videos that can be viewed in countdown fashion (good to best) like a mini-concert.

In order to do this each year I comb through hundreds of videos to find material for our panel to review. The best sessions I find are compiled into a raw list, and that raw list is now complete. This year I found 292 good performance videos out of perhaps 8 or 9000. (No, I don’t actually view all 9000, nor does the panel rate all 292, but the actual process involved is a long story.)

The initial screening process leads to the creation of three playlists that the curious and discerning listener can use now. I know that the lists are quite long; I suggest browsing at random which is quite feasible using a dedicated app or browser window.

The first list consists of performances on youtube. To browse the list, just click on ‘Watch on Youtube’ in the bottom left corner to scroll and select individual videos, or just watch at random. All of these videos were created since late 2020. You can also just press play, but youtube will cut you off at just 200 videos; the other option gives you all the videos, although you have to scroll to the bottom of the playlist to see the last 92.

Click ‘watch on youtube’ in order to see the entire list, and scroll the titles. Or just press play.

If you would rather just listen , then this link may be for you. It accesses a similar list of songs in the Youtube Music player.

Link to 2021 Folk and Acoustic Discovery audiostream in Youtube Music

This list can be also downloaded to your smartphone using the Youtube Music app. It’s a great list for a long car drive this holiday season.

I’ll put a plug here for the Youtube Music streaming service which has several advantages over spotify. First, it will cut all ads on your youtube viewing sessions. Second, it provides a separate youtube music app or player that lets you access the audio of normal youtube videos, in addition to maintaining a virtual music library, as all the services do. Third, the family plan allows you to share the service with up to 5 gmail accounts. (I think it’s 5, but double check if purchasing).

All the same, Spotify is ubiquitous, so there’s a discovery playlist on that service as well. The embedded player will ask to take you to a separate tab, and that does work better.

Remember that all our playlists are available on youtube and some on spotify by searching for ‘Artsfols’ on any youtube or spotify player on any device.


You can correspond with me here on WordPress, or wherever you saw the link to this post – Facebook, discussion group, or my email list. I especially like to hear about tracks that you’ve discovered and enjoyed from the playlist. We take all feedback into consideration for our year end list.

  1. Some of the songs on the spotify and Youtube music list are clearly not acoustic or folk. Why?
    1. Answer: Performers like Adele and Billy Eilish often create acoustic or stripped performance videos of their hit records. When these are translated to audiostreams in spotify or Youtube Music, the original fully produced version with autotune, dynamic compression and all the other mushy sound props is substituted. The acoustic version is the one used in the video list.
  2. What is included in folk music?
    1. Answer: Really, almost any genre is included. The main qualification is that the music can be performed live and instrumental competence is an important quality. These days even pared down rock music, perhaps with an electric bass and acoustic guitars and horns would not be uncommon at a folk festival. It is difficult to be definitive on what is in or out.
  3. Why does the Answer above have the number 1 in front of it?
    1. Answer: Because WordPress is full of bugs. It does get the job done, but never very well.
  4. Why are there older songs in the spotify and Youtube audiostreams?
    1. Answer: I try to weed these out. The Youtube video playlist does contain new performance sessions of older songs, and especially if the artist is not well known, I try to include these. But when converting to Spotify or Youtube audiostream, the service substitutes the original recording for these. Feel free to let me know about these, or just sing a few bars of the lead song from the movie Frozen.