145 Folk Music Quotes To Inspire You

Following is our list of folk music quotations and slogans full of insightful wisdom and perspective about what is music.

Folk music quote
Inspirational folk music quote

The Most Famous Folk Music Quotes (Best in 2024)

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Folk music is the original melody of man; it is the musical mirror of the world. — Friedrich Nietzsche

All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song. — Louis Armstrong

My academic identity is that of a folklorist, and for many years I have taught only folklore courses. — Alan Dundes

It's a folk singer's job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people — Woody Guthrie

Yeah, I always listen to both classic and newer folk-influenced music. Singer-songwriter, alternative music. I also listen to more experimental dance music. — Brad Delson

Folk music quote

Bluegrass is really a big part of my background. — Travis Tritt

For some reason I've been labeled that and it's fine, but there are a lot of other artists that sing real traditional stuff, so I don't know why they picked me. That's what I've always done. — Alan Jackson

But in my imagination this whole thing developed and I started mixing up old folk songs with the Beatles beat and taking them down to Greenwich Village and playing them for the people there. — Roger McGuinn

My idea of heaven is a place where the Tyne meets the Delta, where folk music meets the blues. — Mark Knopfler

I really like Alan Jackson, in Country Music. I think he's really very, very talented along with George Jones, and Merle Haggard, the same old favorites. — Tanya Tucker

Short Folk Music Quotes

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  • If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine . . . — Nick Drake
  • Jazz is the folk music of the machine age. — Paul Whiteman
  • Folk music is a bunch of fat people. — Bob Dylan
  • I became interested in folk music because I had to make it somehow. — Bob Dylan
  • There's a similarity between European and North African folk musics. — Robert Plant
  • Folk Music is the map of singing. — Alan Lomax
  • When we moved back to the US, folk music was all the rage. So I traded in my banjo for a guitar. — Michael Storm
  • Folk Music Has Always Contained a Concern for the Human Condition. — Mary Travers
  • I don't have very sophisticated taste in music. I listen to a lot of folk music. I like reggae. — Anne Lamott
  • I always thought I was singing American folk music. — Lonnie Donegan

Folk Music Image Quotes

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Folk music quote Behind every girl's favorite song there is an untold story.
Behind every girl's favorite song there is an untold story.

Folk Song Quotes

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The chief contribution made by white men of the Americas to the folk songs of the world ——- the cowboy songs of Texas and the West ——- are rhythmed to the walk, the trot, and the gallop of horses. — J. Frank Dobie

Why are black folks singing Amazing Grace which is a song about a white slaver's conversion? — Dick Gregory

What I'm doing is basically the same as Bob Dylan did with folk songs and Woody Guthrie songs, the same as folk music's always done. I'm not going to sing about ploughing, but I'll write a song that sounds like it should be about ploughing. — Justin Townes Earle

Folk music quote Life is like a piano, the white keys represent happiness and the black shows sad
Life is like a piano, the white keys represent happiness and the black shows sadness, but as you go through life's journey, remember that the black keys also makes music.

If it was never new and it never gets old, then it's a folk song — Oscar Isaac

I always knew Gordon Lightfoot was a really great songwriter, but his stuff even sounds better and better all the time. It's just so really good to me. It's just like that's what should be in a dictionary, you know, next to a really good contempory folk song, is a Gordon Lightfoot song. — John Prine

A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it or it could be who's hungry and where their mouth is or who's out of work and where the job is or who's broke and where the money is or who's carrying a gun and where the peace is. — Woody Guthrie

Folk music quote The earth has music for those who listen.
The earth has music for those who listen.

Rock ’n roll is really swing with a modern name. It began on the levees and plantations, took in folk songs, and features blues and rhythm. It's the rhythm that gets to the kids – they're starved of music they can dance to, after all those years of crooners. — Alan Freed

I think folk music helps reinforce your sense of history. An old song makes you think of times gone by. — Pete Seeger

You've got to go down the road you naturally go down, and for me it was pop, folk country, just feel-good music. I suppose most of my songs are very up-tempo. — Shane Filan

It seems to me that the American popular song, growing out of American folk music, is the basis of the American musical theater… it is quite legitimate to use the form of the popular song and gradually fill it out with new musical content. — Kurt Weill

What Is Music Quotes

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It's pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness. — Jerry Garcia

I'm not a lyric writer to make statements. What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics, creating colorful images. I think that's more what entertainment and music should be. — Chris Cornell

The vibrations on the air are the breath of God speaking to man's soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice, we read his lips, we give birth to the children of God, who sing his praise. That's what musicians are. — Ludwig van Beethoven

Folk music quote A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune.
A real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune.

My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being...When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups...I want to speak to their souls. — John Coltrane

My music is the spiritual expression of what I am: my faith, my knowledge, my being. — John Coltrane

The only music minister to whom the Lord will say, 'Well done, thy good and faithful servant,' is the one whose life proves what their lyrics are saying, and to whom music is the least important part of their life. Glorifying the only worthy One has to be a minister's most important goal! — Keith Green

Folk music quote Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.
Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.

Music is a beautiful thing to listen to. It is not a thing to preach to others about, it’s not a cause. It is what it is-and that’s a beautiful artform. — Synyster Gates

I want longevity; I love music, being a musician is the greatest gift in the world to me, and if I were to get signed to a label, my family and team around me are always gonna be there to make sure they want the very best for me. My fans are what it's all about. — Christina Grimmie

The winds that sometimes take something we love, are the same that bring us something we learn to love. Therefore we should not cry about something that was taken from us, but, yes, love what we have been given. Because what is really ours is never gone forever. — Bob Marley

Life isn’t a music player where you choose whats being played, it is a radio where you have to enjoy whats being played. — Zayn Malik

Folk Songs Quotes

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I have no reason to sit home and write songs all day without going out and playing for the folks. And I have no reason to go play for the folks unless I'm writing new songs so they can sort of feed off one another. And I just try to do the best I can. — Guy Clark

People were saying that Southern folk song was dead, that the land that had produced American jazz, the blues, the spirituals, the mountain ballads and the work songs had gone sterile. — Alan Lomax

I grew up around music. My father was a professional musician. We used to have a trailer house that we travelled in. I've always loved music. Started out loving to sing to the standards and songs of the early 50s, then that interest shifted to rock and roll, Motown, folk. — Timothy B. Schmit

Folk music quote A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silen
A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.

If you want to understand a nation, look at its dances and listen to its folk songs - don't pay any attention to its politicians. — Agnes De Mille

That folk music led to learning to play, and making things up led to what turns out to be the most lucrative part of the music business - writing, because you get paid every time that song gets played. — Jackson Browne

Every week, Dennis Day sang an old Irish folk song. And next day in the fields, I'd be singing that song if I was working in the fields. — Johnny Cash

Folk music quote People are like Music, some speak the truth and other are just noise
People are like Music, some speak the truth and other are just noise

Be serious. Folk songs are serious. That's what Pete Seeger told me. 'Arlo, I only wanna tell you one thing. Folk songs are serious.' And I said, 'Right.' — Sayings

People thought me a bit strange at first; a blond haired, blue-eyed Norwegian who sang Mexican folk songs, but I used it to my advantage and got a job. And so the music became my ticket to education. — David Soul

I knew Bobby Dylan back in the days when he lived in the village. He used to come and see me and sing songs for me, saying they ought to go into my next collected book on American folk music. — Alan Lomax

There are no bridges in folk songs because the peasants died building them. — Eugene Chadbourne

Folk Quotes

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Folk music quote

The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it — Aneurin Bevan

When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk. — Barack Obama

When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity...you do not slam it shut behind you...you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. — Michelle Obama

Folk music quote Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough convicti
Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love.

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. — H. L. Mencken

Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay small acts of kindness and love. — Peter Jackson

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. — Abraham Lincoln

Folk music quote Music is the emotional life of most people.
Music is the emotional life of most people.

The church of Jesus needs to wake up from the exile of passivity and embrace liminality and adventure or continue to remain a religious ghetto for culturally co-opted, fearful, middle-class folk. — Alan Hirsch

I'll tell you how I'd like to be remembered: As a black man who won the heavyweight title - Who has humorous and who never looked down on those who looked up to him - A man who stood for freedom, justice and equality - And I wouldn't even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was. — Muhammad Ali

I would like to see every single soldier on every single side, just take off your helmet, unbuckle your kit, lay down your rifle, and set down at the side of some shady lane, and say, nope, I aint a gonna kill nobody. Plenty of rich folks wants to fight. Give them the guns. — Woody Guthrie

Too many young folk have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth and love. — Cornel West

Traditional Music Quotes

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I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it. — Claude Debussy

The standardization of world culture, with local popular or traditional forms driven out or dumbed down to make way for American television, American music, food, clothes and films, has been seen by many as the very heart of globalization. — Fredric Jameson

But an innovation, to grow organically from within, has to be based on an intact tradition, so our idea is to bring together musicians who represent all these traditions, in workshops, festivals, and concerts, to see how we can connect with each other in music. — Yo-Yo Ma

Folk music quote One good thing about music. When it hits you, you feel no pain.
One good thing about music. When it hits you, you feel no pain.

I tell my students, 'It's an important tradition and you have to go back and hear this music and learn its language all the way through. How are you going to know what's new to play, if you haven't listened to everything that's old?' — Jackie McLean

Here it is: our collaboration with Project Spark . Instead of a traditional music video for GUILTY ALL THE SAME (feat. Rakim), we are giving you this as a starting line for you guys to create and share. This is the first interactive, remixable game. We look forward to seeing what you make with it. — Joe

When you're doing the traditional musicals, singing songs that are 40 and 50 years old, you realize there's a reason why those musicals are hits. These are amazing songs! — Tom Wopat

Folk music quote One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain

Country fans need to support country music by buying albums and concert tickets for traditional artists or the music will just fade away. And that would be really sad. — George Jones

Everybody knows in the business how I feel about country music. I'm an old traditionalist. Then they just call me an old man and stuck in my old ways, but with all the fans I've got out there, I can't be all that wrong. I do love traditional country music. I love the good stuff. — George Jones

As players of instruments, it is our duty to reach out and give light to those in the dark in whatever way that we can. All my actions are a fulfilment of all the African music genres - I'm only trying to maintain the culture and the tradition. I am a musician. — Sizzla

All the traditional models for doing things are collapsing; from music to publishing to film, and it's a wide open door for people who are creative to do what they need to do without having institutions block their art. — Ava DuVernay

Folk Art Quotes

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In this perilous world, if a black boy wanted to live a halfway normal life and die a natural death he had to learn early the art of how to get along with white folks. — Benjamin E. Mays

An intelligent observation of the facts of human existence will reveal to shallow-minded folk who sneer at the use of coincidence in the arts of fiction and drama that life itself is little more than a series of coincidences. — Rafael Sabatini

One of the reasons I love using LEGO bricks is because it makes the art very relatable and accessible; folks can connect with the art almost on a different level because they have played with it or their kids have played with it. — Nathan Sawaya

I never got a pass mark in math... Just imagine - mathematicians now use my prints to illustrate their books. Funny me consorting with all these learned folks, as though I were their long lost brother. I guess they are unaware of the fact that I am ignorant about the whole thing. — M. C. Escher

Everything that has ever been called folk art has always reflected domination. — Theodor Adorno

I'm trying to inspire as many people as I can. I want the viewer to enjoy the art and I want the whole family to have something to react to. I hope that folks go home and do a bit of doodling and creating on their own. — Nathan Sawaya

Art teaches us to see into things. Folk art and kitsch allow us to see outward from within things. — Walter Benjamin

Folk parapsychology, an art and science designed to enable people to make effective use of their psychic talents — Isaac Bonewits

A game may be as integral to a culture, as true an object of human aesthetic appreciation, as admirable a product of creativity as a folk art or a style of music; and, as such, it is quite as worthy of study. — Michael Dummett

The book the Ziff folks sent me as an example of their art was 'Late Night VRML 2.0 with Java,' 700 pages + CD-ROM, published February 1997. I was personally acquainted with more movie stars than people who might conceivably have wanted to buy this book or any book like it. — Philip Greenspun

Folklore Quotes

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A man from Iowa or Illinois will say 'I'm from the Middle West'..a Georgian or a Mississipian may admit to being merely a Southerner...but no Texan, given the opportunity, ever said otherwise than 'I'm from Texas'. — J. Frank Dobie

If you take myth and folklore, and these things that speak in symbols, they can be interpreted in so many ways that although the actual image is clear enough, the interpretation is infinitely blurred, a sort of enormous rainbow of every possible colour you could imagine. — Diana Wynne Jones

Expedition EVEREST adds a new dimension to our storytelling in Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's a thrilling adventure themed to the folklore of the mysterious yeti. — Joe Rohde

When fairy tales are written in the west, they're known as folklore. In the east, fairy tales are called religions. — Paul Henderson

What I find interesting about folklore is the dialogue it gives us with storytellers from centuries past. — Terri Windling

I have a better internal and intuitive understanding of folklore and myth than science and technology, so in that way fantasy is easier. — Sarah Zettel

I developed some unique software to public it on the web that I call the Folklore Project. — Andy Hertzfeld

I have a great advantage over many of my colleagues inasmuch as my students bring with them to class their own personal knowledge of national, regional, religious, ethnic, occupational, and family folklore traditions. — Alan Dundes

When I was younger, I was in love with everything about the British Isles, from British folklore to Celtic music. That was always where my passions were as a young girl, and so I studied folklore as a college student in England and Ireland. — Terri Windling

In more recent years, I've become more and more fascinated with the indigenous folklore of this land, Native American folklore, and also Hispanic folklore now that I live in the Southwest. — Terri Windling

Old Folk Quotes

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Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list. — Denis Leary

As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them, both for their own sake, and for the sake of old-fashioned folks, who used to love them. — Henry Ward Beecher

Once over there [Balkans], I felt extremely patriotic. Here are these people, from 18-year-olds to military veterans, enduring real duress for the cause of peace. I don't ever want to play for a regular audience again, only military folks who are starving for music. — Sheryl Crow

I was sixty-six years old. I still had to make a living. I looked at my social security check of 105 dollars and decided to use that to try to franchise my chicken recipe. Folks had always liked my chicken. — Colonel Sanders

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago. — Louis Armstrong

Today, folks, should be all about love. Unless you're old. — Stephen Colbert

We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old. — Martin Luther

When you get real old, honey, you realize there are certain things that just don't matter anymore. You lay it all on the table. There's a saying, 'Only little children and old folks tell the truth.' — Sarah Louise Delany

Being unprepared makes me nervous. I'm old-fashioned show folk. — John C. Reilly

The Alps are a simple folk, living on a diet of old shoes. And the Lord Alps those who alp themselves. — Groucho Marx

People Writing About Folk Music

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Name Quotes Likes
Read quotes by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
quotes on life, love and war

868 4662
Read quotes by Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche
quotes on god, love and morality

2473 32550
Read quotes by Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
quotes on jazz, music

75 1794
Read quotes by Alan Dundes

Alan Dundes

10 221
Read quotes by Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie
quotes on fascism, war

56 3868
Read quotes by Brad Delson

Brad Delson
quotes on life, leadership and music

11 66

More Folk Music Quotes

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Folk melodies are the embodiment of an artistic perfection of the highest order; in fact, they are models of the way in which a musical idea can be expressed with utmost perfection in terms of brevity of form and simplicity of means. — Bela Bartok

You have to open your mind. I like the ability to express myself in a deep way. It's the closest music to our humanity - it's like a folk music that rises up out of a culture. — Sonny Terry

Jazz I regard as an American folk music; not the only one, but a very powerful one which is probably in the blood and feeling of the American people more than any other style of folk music. — George Gershwin

That ideology was never going to work, was it? It was just cobbled together from different beliefs: The anti-intellectualism of the Khmer Rouge, the religious persecution of the Nazis, the enforced beard-wearing from the world of folk music, and the segregation and humiliation of women from the world of golf. — Bill Bailey

Everyone has their own sound, and if you're heard enough, folks will come to recognize it. Style however, is a different thing. Try to express your own ideas. It's much more difficult to do, but the rewards are there if you're good enough to pull it off. — Chet Atkins

Folk music isn't owned by anybody. It is owned by everybody, like the national parks, the postal system, and the school system. It's our common property. There is nobody's name on it. Nobody can make money on it. It's not copywritten. — Utah Phillips

Noise has taken the place of punk rock. People who play noise have no real aspirations to being part of the mainstream culture. Punk has been co-opted, and this subterranean noise music and the avant-garde folk scene have replaced it — Thurston Moore

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and am a product of a family that were jazz aficionados and also very interested in progressive politics. And so I had a lot of artists and musicians in my home. Lots of Latin music, folk, and jazz and blues, bluegrass-type of stuff. Painters and stuff like that. — Jack Waters

There's always something in most world folk musics that always seems connected; whether it's a bagpipe or a tambura, there's always some sort of drone instrument, and there's always percussion. — Paul Weller

It was around that time, early 60s. There were like three kindred spirits in New Jersey. I had two friends who played folk music, old-time music and bluegrass and we started a little band called the Garret Mountain Boys. — David Grisman

(a womanist) 3. Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless. — Alice Walker

I was addicted to rhythm 'n' blues pretty much directly into folk music. I had my little 45s of mostly black artists. That was as close as I got. I've never listened to heavy rock or stuff that jangles my nerves, because I'm already jangled. — Joan Baez

The local music community here was dying for a place to record, so we started doing acoustic, folk and bluegrass and then did rock projects for other bands, as well as for my son Tal and my own work. — Randy Bachman

My job, is to show folks there's a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet. — Pete Seeger

I play Irish popular music, yeah? Calling it folk is like putting it in a box. It's a living tradition, you know? — Shane MacGowan

Mostly folk music is people with fruity voices trying to keep alive something old and dead. It's all a bit boring, like ballet: a minority thing kept going by a minority group. — John Lennon

I didn't know folk music growing up, no. It's something I've come to study, really, because I think there's so much to learn from traditional music in the sense of the way music began as a way of communication, the traveling storyteller, the bard, the minstrels. — PJ Harvey

Most of the music I've become interested in is hybrid in its originsClassical music, of course, is unbelievably hybrid. Jazz is an obvious amalgam. Bluegrass comes from eighteenth-century Scottish and Irish folk music that made contact with the blues. By exploring music, you're exploring everything. — Edgar Meyer

I just love all the music. My grandma was a church organist for 40 years, and she got me into jazz music and great songwriters, Harold Arlen, George Gershwin, all those folks. I can't do it, but I have a profound respect for it. — Zach Anner

I started singing Folksongs with my mother when I was 6 years old. We sang at Folk festivals and concerts and schools. There was always music being played either on record, Jazz and Folk, by musician friends of my mother. I took to singing very early, I believe it has been a Gift I was born with. — Vicki Sue Robinson

Folk music has always contained a concern for the human condition. And since it brings people into it from different points of view, that can help illuminate what a consensus might be to important issues. — Mary Travers

In Conclusion

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