Folk & Traditional Music: Top 10 Books

Folk & Traditional Music

Folk & Traditional Music: An Introduction

Delving into the rich tapestry of folk and traditional music offers a journey through time and culture. Whether you’re an enthusiast, a musician, or a curious reader, exploring these top books will deepen your understanding and appreciation of this timeless genre. This carefully curated list presents the best books to guide your exploration. From the soulful melodies of Bob Dylan to the intricate stories of John Denver, each book on this list has earned its place through insightful content and critical acclaim.

By: Alex Turner

10. Dylan Goes Electric!: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties

Elijah Wald

4.4 out of 5 stars (226 ratings)

Dive into the pivotal moment in music history when Bob Dylan “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival. Elijah Wald’s detailed account not only narrates the event but also explores its cultural impact. Perfect for understanding a significant turning point in folk music.

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9. Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage (Brown Thrasher Books Ser.)

Bess Lomax Hawes

4.5 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

This book offers a vibrant collection of Afro-American folklore. Bess Lomax Hawes provides a rich anthology of games, plays, songs, and stories, preserving a crucial part of American heritage. It’s an essential read for those interested in the cultural roots of traditional music.

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8. Rocky Mountain Highway: Stories and Photos of My 25 Years Traveling with John Denver

Lowell Norman

4.4 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

Lowell Norman’s memoir takes you on a journey with John Denver, revealing personal stories and photographs from 25 years on the road. It’s an intimate look at the life of one of folk music’s beloved icons, making it a must-read for fans.

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7. Searching for Solid Ground: A Memoir

Reggie Harris

5.0 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

Reggie Harris’s memoir is a poignant exploration of his life and music. Harris’s storytelling is both heartfelt and inspiring, making this book a standout in the genre. It’s perfect for readers seeking personal narratives intertwined with the history of folk music.

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6. Break Shot: My First 21 Years: Words + Music, Vol. 2

James Taylor

4.5 out of 5 stars (2,500 ratings)

James Taylor shares his journey from his early years to his rise as a music legend. This Audible audiobook combines narration with Taylor’s music, providing a unique listening experience that fans of folk and traditional music will appreciate.

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5. Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track Expanded Edition

Philippe Margotin

4.7 out of 5 stars (948 ratings)

This comprehensive book details the stories behind every Bob Dylan song. Philippe Margotin offers an in-depth look at Dylan’s extensive catalog, making it a treasure trove for fans and scholars of folk music alike.

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4. Clarinets Book Beginners: 60 Hit Songs For Clarinet Solo

Thomas A Randle

4.5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

A fantastic resource for budding clarinetists, this book includes 60 hit songs arranged for solo clarinet. Thomas A Randle’s selection spans various genres, making it an excellent choice for those looking to expand their repertoire.

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3. When You See My Mother, Ask Her to Dance: Poems

Joan Baez

4.7 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

Legendary folk singer Joan Baez shares a deeply personal collection of poems in this book. Her lyrical voice shines through, offering readers a glimpse into her artistic soul. It’s a beautiful read for fans of Baez and poetry lovers alike.

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2. Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell

Ann Powers

4.3 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

Ann Powers takes readers on a journey through the life and music of Joni Mitchell. This book is an insightful exploration of Mitchell’s profound influence on folk music and her enduring legacy. Essential reading for fans and music historians.

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1. Piano Book for Adult Beginners: Teach Yourself How to Play Famous Piano Songs, Read Music, Theory & Technique (Book & Streaming Video Lessons)

Damon Ferrante

4.6 out of 5 stars (8,424 ratings)

Damon Ferrante’s book is the ultimate guide for adult beginners looking to master the piano. With clear instructions, famous songs, and streaming video lessons, it’s the perfect starting point for any aspiring musician.

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To explore the depths of folk and traditional music, these books offer invaluable insights and compelling stories. Whether you’re just beginning your journey or deepening your existing knowledge, each title on this list will enrich your appreciation for this timeless genre.

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Tags: folk music books, traditional music books, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, John Denver, music memoirs, best music books, learn piano, folk music history

By Alex Turner


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