Folk music is one of the genres that threw open its double doors to female musicians long ago, and the resulting artists have produced some of the most powerful music of the last decades. Fortunately, female artists have begun to populate genres that they were previously denied admission to with increasing frequency, but their impact on folk remains integral.
Classic artists like Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Joan Baez ushered in political and social change through some spectacular songs, but time marches on, and so does music, bringing with it fresh, new voices who have their own take on old folk traditions.
From artists riffing on the traditional acoustic sounds all the way through the various worlds of electric guitar, breathy synths and the depths of doom-soul, here are eleven of the most precocious, talented and creative female folk musicians on the scene. Watch for these ladies, they’re on their way up.