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The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

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.

The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists Bands/Musicians
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  1. 1
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    So Long So Wrong, New Favorite, Paper Airplane

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  2. 2
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    The Complete Mercury Sessions, At Carnegie Hall: The Complete Concert, ...

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  3. 3
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    Southern Flavor, Blue Grass 1959-1969, The Music of Bill Monroe: 1936 to ...

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  4. 4
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    Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947, Bluegrass ...

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  5. 5
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    Roads Well Traveled, Drive Time, Lonely Street

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  6. 6
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    The Essential Masters, 20 Bluegrass Originals, Long Journey Home

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  7. 7
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    Lost In The Lonesome Pines, Shine On, Clinch Mountain Sweethearts

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  8. 8
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    Strictly Instrumental, Classic Bluegrass Live: 1959-1966, Foggy Mountain ...

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  9. 9
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    Sittin' Here Pickin' the Blues, Then and Now / Two Days in November, ...

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  10. 10
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    Ragin' Live, The Storm Still Rages, Taken

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  11. 11
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    Strictly Instrumental, Gospel, Lester Raymond Flatt

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  12. 12
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    Blue Ridge, At the Scene, Act I

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  13. 13
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    - 15


    The Pizza Tapes, Backwaters, Quartet

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  14. 14
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    Bluegrass Collection, The Essential Osborne Brothers Collection, Country ...

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  15. 15
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    Why Should the Fire Die?, This Side, Nickel Creek

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  16. 16
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    Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, Mountain Soul II, ...

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  17. 17
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    Carrying the Tradition, Head on Into Heartache, The Road With No End

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  18. 18
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    The SteelDrivers, Hammer Down, Reckless

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  19. 19
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    Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947, Bluegrass ...

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  20. 20
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    J.D. Crowe & The New South, Live in Japan, Flashback

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  21. 21
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    Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Iron World, Greetings From Wawa

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  22. 22
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    Ice Caps, Peaks of Telluride, Hold On

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  23. 23
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    Don't Cry to Me, First Time Together, You Don't Know My Mind

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  24. 24
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    Long List of Heartaches, The Grascals, When I Get My Pay

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  25. 25
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    Crying in the Chapel, Country Songs, Old and New

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  26. 26
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    Permanent Wave, Back Porch Bluegrass, Copperfields

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  27. 27
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    Bluegrass and More, Volume 5, Bluegrass and More

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  28. 28
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    40, The Last Suit You Wear, Almost Home

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  29. 29
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    Del Doc & Mac, 20 Old-Time Country Favorites, Grassroots to Bluegrass ...

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  30. 30
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    The Christmas Album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Let's Go

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  31. 31
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    Punch, Not All Who Wander Are Lost, Stealing Second

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  32. 32
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    Restless on the Farm, Under the Wire, Slide Rule

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  33. 33
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    Traditional Ties, Radio Boogie, Untold Stories

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  34. 34
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    Red on Blonde, Memories and Moments, Rock in My Shoe

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  35. 35
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    J.D. Crowe & The New South, Blackjack

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  36. 36
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    Retrograss, Vassar Clements, John Hartford

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  37. 37
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    most listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Once Upon a Christmas, The Ultimate Collection, The Grass Is Blue

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  38. 38
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    Let It Go, Fork in the Road, The Infamous Stringdusters

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  39. 39
    + 45
    - 8


    Unleashed, Waitin' for the Hard Times to Go, American Beauty

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  40. 40
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    Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, Live at the Quick, Greatest Hits of the 20th ...

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  41. 41
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    Bluegrass Legends Together, Family & Friends, The Original Dueling ...

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  42. 42
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    Mountain Heart, No Other Way, Wide Open

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  43. 43
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  44. 44
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    Jerry Garcia / David Grisman, David Grisman's Acoustic Christmas, Shady ...

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  45. 45
    + 43
    - 18


    Time Passes By, Good News, Lonesome Standard Time

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  46. 46
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    - 9

    added by dlf1203
    Old & In the Way, Old & In the Gray, Breakdown

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  47. 47
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    I and Love and You, Emotionalism, A Carolina Jubilee

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  48. 48
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    Follow Me Down, Build Me Up From Bones, Live at the Troubadour

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  49. 49
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    added by DebbyHood
    When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers, Satan Is Real, ...

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  50. 50
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    The New Nashville Cats, The American Seasons, Midnight on the Water

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