On four consecutive programs (June 21, June 28, July 5, and July 12, 2003), Matt featured his "top 40" pick of essential folk music CDs. He defined these as high quality recordings from start to finish, where one could drop the laser beam anywhere on the disc and hear great music. These would be the "keepers" if someone had to eliminate all but a few recordings from a personal collection. This list can also serve as a guide for anyone just starting a folk music collection since it features important artists, some classic recordings, and a broad spectrum of styles and traditions. And Matt is the first to admit that the list represents his PERSONAL choices ... !

Additional listener recommendations for essential folk music recordings were featured on the July 19, 2003, program.

In alphabetical order, here are Matt's "Top 40" CDs:

Lou & Peter Berryman, What, Again?! (Cornbelt)
Eric Bogle, Scraps of Paper (Flying Fish)
Gordon Bok, Ann Mayo Muir, & Ed Trickett, The First Fifteen Years, Vol. 1 & 2 (Folk Legacy)
Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, When I Go (Signature Sounds)
Eva Cassidy, Songbird (Blixstreet)
Guy Clark, Dublin Blues (Warner Brothers)
Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks (Columbia)
Archie Fisher & Garnet Rogers, Off the Map (Snow Goose)
The Flatlanders, More a Legend than a Band (Rounder)
Friends of Fiddler's Green, This Side of the Ocean (Fogarty's Cove)

Dick Gaughan, Handful of Earth (Green Linnet)
Steve Gillette & Cindy Mangsen, The Light of the Day (Compass Rose)
Steve Goodman, Somebody Else's Troubles (Buddha)
Nanci Griffith, Other Voices/Other Rooms (Elektra)
Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads (Buddha)
Emmylou Harris, At the Ryman (Reprise)
Anne Hills, Angle of the Light (Flying Fish)
James Keelaghan, Timelines (Green Linnet)
The Kingston Trio, At Large (Capitol)
Leo Kottke, 6 and 12 String Guitar (Rhino)

Christine Lavin, Beau Woes (Philo)
Dougie MacLean, The Dougie MacLean Collection (Putumayo)
John McCutcheon, Live at Wolf Trap (Rounder)
Joni Mitchell, Blue (Reprise)
Phil Ochs, In Concert (Elektra)
Maura O'Connell, Helpless Heart (Warner Brothers)
Tom Paxton, Ain't That News (Elektra)
Peter Paul & Mary, In Concert (Warner Brothers)
Utah Phillips, Good Though (Philo)
John Prine, John Prine (Atlantic)

John Roberts & Tony Barrand, Live at Holsteins (Eat Bertha's Mussels) (Golden Hind)
Stan Rogers, Between the Breaks ... Live (Fogarty's Cove)
Tom Russell, The Man From God Knows Where (Hightone)
Pete Seeger, We Shall Overcome (Complete) (Columbia)
Michael Smith, Michael Smith/Love Stories (Flying Fish)
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, The Lover's Waltz (Angel)
The Watersons, Early Days (Topic)
The Weavers, Live at Carnegie Hall (Vanguard)
Cheryl Wheeler, Driving Home (Philo)
Kate Wolf, An Evening in Austin (Kaleidoscope)