bands/musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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Over the years, bluegrass music has spread from being a strictly American genre of roots music and country music to a standalone musical style. Emerging from Appalachia, in particular Kentucky, bluegrass bands use elements of Scottish, Welsh and English folk music. Unlike traditional old time music, each instrument plays a role in driving a song's melody while the other parts involve jamming around it. Bluegrass artists are also known for breakdowns where the tempo speed up, the chords are more challenging and thus, becomes a glorified jam session. Bluegrass bands first emerged in the 18th century, but bluegrass music as we know it today (that incorporates country western) first became relevant post-World War II.

So, who are the best bluegrass bands? Any list of bluegrass artists has to include names of famous male and female bluegrass singers, including Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek, and the Stanley Brothers. These are some of the best bluegrass bands and with good reason - while new bluegrass bands come and go, these are classics with staying power. Their songs resonate with many fans and are very catchy. There have been multiple generations of bluegrass bands and multiple subgenres, yet when people think of bluegrass, they think of the best groups of the genre.

This list includes both classic and modern / contemporary bluegrass musicians and bands, as well as the names of the places where each got its start. That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best bluegrass bands. If you notice that a band is missing from this list feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best bluegrass bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest bluegrass musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular bluegrass bands that you might've heard of.

1
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Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass Gospel music

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+ - 290 54
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Country

3
+ - 323 58
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bill Monroe Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel music

4
+ - 522 99
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Alison Krauss & Union Station Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

5
+ - 256 41
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ralph Stanley Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music Bluegrass

6
+ - 185 33
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
+ - 237 37
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music Country

8
+ - 259 42
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass Gospel music

9
+ - 163 35
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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+ - 185 26
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

11
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Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Patty Loveless Country pop, Country rock Honky-tonk

12
+ - 190 34
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

13
+ - 122 45
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Dubstep, Jug band Country pop

14
+ - 235 50
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music Country

15
+ - 207 29
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

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+ - 240 66
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old Crow Medicine Show Americana, Folk music Old-time music

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+ - 146 21
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Seldom Scene Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass Country

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+ - 162 25
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music Bluegrass

19
+ - 101 28
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

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+ - 134 25
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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+ - 113 21
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

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+ - 111 77
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop Pop music

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+ - 81 22
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

24
+ - 108 20
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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+ - 84 9
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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+ - 165 47
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nickel Creek Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass Country

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+ - 114 26
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

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+ - 122 33
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

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+ - 96 22
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jim and Jesse Bluegrass

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+ - 52 16
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Louvin Brothers Christian music, Gospel music Country

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+ - 57 17
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old & In the Way Bluegrass

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+ - 109 19
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Country Gentlemen Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass Country

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+ - 49 26
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

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+ - 78 19
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

35
+ - 50 19
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Maybelle Carter Old-time music, Gospel music Country

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+ - 115 24
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

37
+ - 124 32
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

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+ - 91 32
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Chris Thile Folk music, Classical music Progressive bluegrass

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+ - 60 12
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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+ - 37 10
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

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+ - 98 39
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones Pop music, Jazz fusion Progressive bluegrass

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+ - 63 20
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass Country

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+ - 85 18
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
J. D. Crowe Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

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+ - 84 19
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hot Rize Folk music, Progressive bluegrass Bluegrass

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+ - 66 22
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

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+ - 101 31
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band Bluegrass

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+ - 73 19
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

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+ - 78 22
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass Country

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+ - 66 39
Gillian Welch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Gillian Welch American Primitivism, Americana Rock music

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+ - 15 9
Hillbilly Gypsies is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists