Ella’s Staff Picks: Mostly Folk

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m way into folk music, and my staff picks are no exception. Mostly folk, with a bit of jazz and rock. Without further ado, here we are!

Punch Brothers – Punch

Punch Brothers are a progressive bluegrass band, blending bluegrass instrumentation  and influence with jazz and modern classical structure. Their debut album, Punch, was recorded almost entirely live. It gives this album a raw, wild feeling. Highly improvisational, with every member of the band bringing virtuoso skill to their respective instruments, Punch Brothers are always an unexpected listening experience.

Joni Mitchell – Blue

Blue is deeply personal, stripped down, and very fragile feeling. Joni Mitchell uses open tunings and her Appalachian dulcimer to create jazz inspired chords and unexpected progressions. If you’re looking for some melancholy folk, this is the album for you.

Simon and Garfunkel – Old Friends

Old Friends is a 3-disc anthology of Simon and Garfunkel’s best known works, as well as some previously unreleased recordings. I really love their harmonies and mellow folk-rock feel. Simon and Garfunkel is always a classic, and this collection of hits is a good way to dive in to their catchier, more popular songs.

Yo Yo Ma and Stephane Grappelli – Anything Goes

Yo Yo Ma and Stephane Grappelli are two renowned string players, coming together for a playful, fun album of jazz. As a violinist who veers more into the jazz side of performing and preference, this combination of cello and fiddle playing Cole Porter tunes is very gratifying.

The Smiths – Meat is Murder

Meat is Murder was The Smiths second studio album, and also their only album to chart number one in the UK charts. This album and era of The Smiths was more political than previous material. When I’m tired of folkin’ it up, The Smiths are always a solid go-to for me. I’m always a fan of Morrisey’s melancholy vocals and the solid 80’s rock sound they bring to the table.