Folkalley: Best of 2018 – Devon Léger’s Top 10 Trad Albums of the Year

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2018 was a banner year for traditional music, fueled in part by new artists coming into the Smithsonian Folkways fold (Dom Flemons, Kaia Kater, Anna & Elizabeth, Lula Wiles), but also by the rise of more next-generation artists across the board, many of whom had refreshingly different takes on their traditions. “Trad” as a genre is ill-defined, but has been used as a term informally for years to tie together a variety of musical traditions, from Appalachian old-time to New England contra dance, Cajun dancehall songs, Scottish fiddle and bagpipes, or foot-tapping French-Canadian music and more. It’s most often used for Irish traditional music, but it’s a useful term for talking about music that has deep roots and the weight of old traditions, and is made my artists who respect where the music comes from as much as they look forward to helping guide it forward. Here’s my top picks for trad albums of 2018 across a variety of different traditions.

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