Five Folk Albums to Get You Through Winter

Milk Carton Kids. Photo courtesy of Anti Records

Before spring spreads its wings once more and everyone gets all bubbly and beat-happy, let’s make the most of the wintry world we’re currently immersed in by focusing in on some throw-another-log-on-the-fire folk albums of the first order. Once we’re safely out of the snow-friendly season, there’ll be plenty of time for kicking out the jams, but here are some earthy, stripped-down sounds more suited for a wool-and-flannel-clad evening in than an all-night bacchanal out on the town. From legendary artists offering an unexpected twist on traditional tunes to the coolest, craftiest singer/songwriter sounds, here are five of the finest folk albums of the winter of ’13.

1. Various Artists — Son of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys (Anti Records, Feb. 19)

Hall Willner’s work on uber-cool all-star tribute albums goes all the way back to the ’80s, when he was bringing together everyone from Lou Reed to Sun Ra for aural homages to Kurt Weill and vintage Disney films. The sequel to 2006’s Rogue’s Gallery is co-produced by Johnny “Jack Sparrow” Depp himself, and offers the likes of Nick Cave, Patti Smith, and Iggy Pop tackling traditional pirate tunes and other seafaring songs, but the duo of Tom Waits and Keith Richards scaring the shit out of the seagulls with their version of “Shenandoah” is in itself all the reason you need for entry into Willner’s weird world.

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