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10 Folky Artists To Listen to as You Transition to Fall

Do you associate certain musicians or artists with a season? It’s not just me, right? Well, after Labor Day rolls by, I simply can’t listen to my summer playlists for one more second. Rosalía Harry Styles begone. In transitioning to fall weather, I begin pulling out music that feels eerie and introspective…and maybe has a little bit of banjo in the background.

If you like the folk/new-age country/indie/Americana, then listen along with me to this spooky playlist, and let’s cross Autumn’s threshold together.

Sierra Ferrell

Sierra Ferrell is the queen of new-age folk. Her voice sounds like it was ripped off a record player from 1950, but her face tattoo (I love) and eclectic style cannot be pigeonholed into an era. I found her music from random YouTube videos from her busking days in New Orleans, but you can now enjoy her music on major streaming platforms.

“Real Down Lonesome”

(This is a song by Early James but it features Sierra Ferrell’s vintage voice in a hauntingly spooky way)

“The Sea”

Dead Man’s Bones

Dead Man’s Bones is the least “folky” on this list, but their self-titled album is one that I’ve listened to every October since 2015. And when you tune into this next song, just know that you are listening to Ryan Gosling. Yes. That Ryan Gosling.

“My Body’s a Zombie for You”

Brandi Carlile

This next song was written in self-reflection by Carlile during the COVID-19 pandemic. If that’s not scary enough, the lyrics deal with her shortcomings as a parent and the inner turmoil she feels in isolation. For some reason, an apology to her daughter feels deeper and more gut-wrenching to me than if it were spoken to a lover. Is that just me?

“Mama Werewolf”

The Secret Sisters

These ladies sound like a pair of vagabonds from your creepiest dream set in 1940. I love it. And I can’t stop listening to such flitteringly classic vocals. The two leading ladies actually are real-life sisters who had no real intention of becoming a duo, but I’m so glad they did.

"Tennessee River Runs Low"

Orville Peck

Orville Peck is the masked figure that stepped out of an old Western and into a Spotify playlist. Peck has been adamant about remaining a mystery, never removing his mask, and never sharing his true identity. Though fans have investigated, and his tattoos pin him to----you know what? I’ll let the romance remain. The songs below are two of my all-time favorites from him. Enjoy!

“Dead of Night”

“The Curse of the Blackened Eye”

Sabine McCalla

I just started listening to Sabine McCalla and, really, that means I know the least about her and her story. But I do know that she is from New Orleans (you’ll hear it in her music), and is a talented songwriter with a spooky, old-timey voice. I would include every song on her album titled, “Folk,” if I didn’t think the other artists would get a little jealous :D

“Roads We Wander”

“I Went to the Levee”

Nick Shoulders

I love Nick Shoulders for sticking to his deep Southern roots, while also bringing his skepticism of the convoluted, bigoted community that is associated with the South. I hope you grow to love that about him too. And, fun fact, “John Brown’s Nightmare” is a little instrumental play on an old hunting bow.

“Turn on the Dark”

“John Brown’s Nightmare”

Odie Leigh

Odie Leigh got TikTok famous before she even recorded her music, which was a long process in the wake of her home being affected by Hurricane Ida. She is slowly building up her discography, and I am ready to wait as long as it takes inspiration and opportunity to show up on Odie Leigh’s doorstep.

“Crop Circles”

The Civil Wars

Unmatched harmonies. The sad fact, however, is that the two frontrunners are no longer making music together. In 2013, they disbanded right in the middle of their tour of The Civil Wars album. With a band name like they have, maybe we should have seen it coming.

“Devil’s Backbone”

Mountain Man

They are from the mountains, but they are not men. This trio of folky ladies has a perfectly chilling a capella sound. Very autumnal, IMO. While “Hot Knife” is a cover of Fiona Apple’s 2012 song, they breathe such spooky, unique life into it. I love their stripped-down voices and I hope you do too.

"Hot Knife"

"Play it Right"

BONUS: Dolly Parton

And for good measure, I suggest the following Dolly song for your transition into fall. Every playlist needs a Dolly song.

“Silver Dagger”

Fun facts that I didn’t know off the top of my head were brought to you by:

Written by Colleen Walker


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