Let's get this out of the way from the jump: No, none of these acts are from Texas.
But each has one thing in common: They're each releasing good music--right now.
And, while 2010 saw handfuls of folk artist make headlines with either debut or breakthrough albums of excellent caliber (from Sweden to Portland alike), we're especially excited about this group of artists we expect to folk around with our hearts in 2011.
After the jump, check out our list of four folk acts worth following in 2011.
1. Frontier Ruckus
They were at the Loft in October, and Darryl Smyers wrote them up a year ago, but we'd like to remind you of the warm, beautiful Americana from this Michigan group. That ain't all, either -- Ruckus' homepage hints at a "new phase" in 2011. Exclaims their site: "The sun is going to come out in blinding reflection, making the overpasses outrageously damp and brilliant in the thawing." All that may sound a bit grandiose, but their 2010 album Deadmalls & Nightfalls makes us eager for what's to come.
For Fans of: Tallest Man on Earth, Joe Pug
Listen to: 2010's Deadmalls & Nightfalls
2. The Parson Red Heads
Don't write these guys off as just another post-Beatles, Wilco-esque folk rock band. The Red Heads are full of gusto, and they're razor-sharp. During their time spent in Los Angeles, they opened for bands such as of Danielson and Cotton Jones (see later in the list). Why should you care? Well, because they moved from L.A. to Portland this year, where their best friend-o's Blitzen Trapper hail -- so we're thinking a Sub Pop sign in 2011.
For Fans of: OK, fine, Wilco.
Listen to: 2009's Orangufang EP
3. Cotton Jones
This outfit is probably the most memorable, dreamy folk band you'll hear out of Maryland these days. Listen to their mind-blowingly good song "Blood Red Sentimental Blues" -- it will thoroughly explain our excitement. Also, their 2010 album Tall Hours in the Glowstream, (which made our critic Noah W. Bailey's top albums of the year list) will be on showcase in their 2011 tour -- which will also feature Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea.
For Fans of: Beach House that want to rock a bit more.
Listen to: 2010's Tall Hours in the Glowstream
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4. Strand of Oaks
Pitchfork gave their 2010 album an 8.1 on their infamous number scale, and it ain't without merit. Strand of Oaks' Pope Killdragon release is a deep, melancholic piece of work that will lead the band on into 2010 quite well. For now, the Philadelphia group is unsigned (according to their Myspace) and lurking only on eMusic. But following an 8.1 on Pitchfork and a killer live session on Daytrotter, expect a big 2011.
For Fans of: Beautiful, dark shit.
Listen to: Pope Killdragon