Skip to main content
  • Blog\smithsonian_gratefulDead_300dpi.jpg


    A Refreshing Refresh of Our Playlists

    New year, new sounds for your ears. We love playlists here at Smithsonian Folkways; we have a such a massive collection of music that for the lay-listener, it can get a bit cumbersome to navigate. Playlists give you just the right direction for directed listening, don't you think? We're pleased to offer a handful of new and refreshed streaming playlists on Spotify for your listening pleasure. Don't forget to follow up on the platform to keep up to date with future updates!

    • New Music from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings: Keep up with the latest singles, albums, and artists from your favorite label!
    • People's Picks: Ira Kaplan (of Yo La Tengo): Ira from Yo La Tengo, one of the indisputable champions of rock, shares his picks from the Folkways catalog, and says "I’ve been listening to Folkways for 60 years and counting. My earliest memory of records is Woody Guthrie’s Songs to Grow On, unless there’s one before that that I’ve forgotten. On this list is a title borrowed by the Holy Modal Rounders, original versions of songs I first heard covered by pre- and post-punk bands, and a pork chop number that’s not the one that Michael (“Mike”) Hurley did that I only just learned is a Jim Jackson cover (found on The Harry Smith B-Sides, on a label not currently under discussion). Not on this list is a title borrowed by Yo La Tengo, Langston Hughes’s The Story of Jazz, which is sad in its way, but—and don’t tell Spotify—also a little comforting to discover that in 2020, not EVERY thing is available on line."
    • Folkways Goes...Bluegrass: a deep dive into the massive & diverse Folkways collection, this time exploring bluegrass and country music.
    • The Roots of the Grateful Dead: explore old-time country, bluegrass, blues, and traditional folk roots of the Grateful Dead. No two Dead gigs sound the same, and this inventive spirit is also reflected in the songs and ballads they performed over the years—many of which can be directly linked to recordings from Smithsonian Folkways collection.
    • Staff Jams: Laura Shanahan: Laura Shanahan, Smithsonian Folkways Intern shares an excellent playlist of what she's been listening to.
    • Folkways Goes...Maritime: Sea shanties are going VIRAL, so we brought this playlist back up from Davey Jones' Locker.
    • Civics and Civil Rights: History can help us understand the role of vovernment and engage in the political process. Take an audio crash course in civics and the fight for civil rights, politics and political protest in America, straight from the Smithsonian Folkways catalog.
    • Label Spotlight: Right On Rhythm: Learn more about our recent acquisition - Right On Rhythm Records and all that it has to offer.
    • Just Kidding: Children's Music from Smithsonian Folkways: Play, dance, learn, and sing along to these selections from our humongous children's music collection!
    • Around the World in Sound: Mind, Body and Spirit: If a sound has been made, it's likely that it has ended up in the Smithsonian Folkways collection, here we explore various songs and sounds of of mind, body, and spirit.
    • Folkwaves: A Sonic Palette from Smithsonian Folkways: Sit back, relax, and let us help you get into the zone with a collage of music and sound you might not expect from Smithsonian Folkways.
    • Discography: Elizabeth Mitchell: Click play and let it rip, listen to all that Folkways has to offer from the inimitable children's artist Elizabeth Mitchell.
    A Refreshing Refresh of Our Playlists | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings