Psychedelic Folk

Psychedelic folk music is a branch of folk music that took the established base characteristics of folk and included psychedelic themes into the instrumentation and thematic ideas. The term first appeared in reference to The Holy Modal Rounders’ 1964 version of Hesitation Blues. Around the same time, folk guitarist John Fahey was experimenting with unusual recording techniques, instruments and guitar tunings which can be heard across his 1966 album The Great San Bernardino Birthday Party, Vol. 4. Another guitarist experimenting in similar ways was Sandy Bull who was combining basic folk concepts with elements from other genres, as well as Middle Eastern and Asian influences. 

By this point in the 60s, psychedelic music was exploding, especially onto the rock scene with bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds. However, artists in these groups had ties to the folk scene, most notably the Byrds who pioneered the folk scene in rock music, as well as being one of the first groups to recognisably incorporate psychedelic elements into their music. The Scottish folk artist Donovan was also utilising unusual instruments in his American folk-based music. Psychedelic folk is recognisable through its base of folk music which revolves around acoustic instruments; this is combined with unusual instruments often from other cultural traditions and longer ambient, improvised passages.

Notable artists:


The Incredible String Band

John Fahey

Tim Buckley

Linda Perhacs

If you want to commission your own music in this style, or would like more information or help, please contact us.