I actually got into folk music after buying a copy of Word Magazine that was giving away a free folk cd, about 10 years ago now!. This cd opened up this genre to me. On it I discovered Nick Drake, John Martyn, The Fairport Convention, and then of course, Sandy Denny.
Before this I had been listening to Pentangle and Bert Jansch a bit because my parents listened to them. But after getting the cd I was desperate for as much folk as I could get so snaffled my parents' cds!
I like all the honey dripped folk of the 60s and 70s like Vashti Bunyon, who is having a bit of a revival thanks to the marvelous Joanna Newsom who I believed played on a recent Bunyon album.
Alot of folky people I know dont tend to like much Fairport Convention apart from 'Leige & Leaf', claiming the "rock" element puts them off a bit. But I can't get enough of Denny's voice, she has such a pure folk timbre you can imagine her weaving around cornfields in the days of yore!
At the moment I am enjoying the likes of Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, Fionn Regan and Scott Matthews. All these acts I feel have that "true folk", instrumental sound, and thier lyrics are very story based, dark and whimsical. Often with a sting in the tail (or should that be tale?)!
But to anyone getting into folk I always recommend Pentangles 'Basket of Light', Fairport Conventions 'Leige & Leaf' and any album by Nick Drake or John Martyn.