The artists in this year's list all use their music to create a sense of unity. Whether it is the acknowledgment of shared oppression, or in contrast, the visibility of identity, Best of Folk Music 2020 is defined by its ability to form a musical common ground.
In 2020, Americana artists empathetically dealt with the things that bind us together and keep us apart. The albums on this list encourage hope for the future based on a belief in the human spirit.
Whether influenced by 1970s folk and soft rock, 1980s post-punk, 1990s alternative and grunge music, or indie rock from the 2000s, guitars are all over this list.
Rather than succumb to the difficulties of our era, many progressive creators doubled down on their artistry to produce some of their best work and tighten their relationships with their admirers.
The 10 best world music albums of 2020 remind us that we are all part of the same global system, an understanding that we can imbue with endless possible meanings as, like the musicians named here, we find new ways to build connections.
Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.