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.
list ordered by

1
+ - 358 68
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bill Monroe Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

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2
+ - 365 78
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

3
+ - 326 68
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Country

4
+ - 562 109
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
+ - 279 48
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
+ - 203 40
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
+ - 258 41
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

8
+ - 286 47
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
+ - 188 39
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
+ - 198 29
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

11
+ - 213 38
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

12
+ - 166 70
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Patty Loveless Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

13
+ - 133 53
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
+ - 248 55
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

15
+ - 261 73
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old Crow Medicine Show Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

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16
+ - 218 33
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

17
+ - 159 22
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Seldom Scene Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

18
+ - 175 27
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

19
+ - 144 27
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

20
+ - 126 24
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

21
+ - 109 33
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

22
+ - 89 25
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

23
+ - 119 22
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

24
+ - 105 12
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

25
+ - 120 89
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

26
+ - 181 53
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nickel Creek Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

27
+ - 126 30
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

28
+ - 105 23
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jim and Jesse Bluegrass

29
+ - 129 37
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

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30
+ - 70 22
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old & In the Way Bluegrass

31
+ - 56 18
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Louvin Brothers Christian music, Gospel music, Country

32
+ - 117 22
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Country Gentlemen Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

33
+ - 57 22
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Maybelle Carter Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

34
+ - 127 27
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

35
+ - 84 22
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

36
+ - 53 32
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

37
+ - 97 36
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Chris Thile Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

38
+ - 132 37
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

39
+ - 66 16
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

40
+ - 39 12
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

41
+ - 110 45
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

42
+ - 96 22
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hot Rize Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

43
+ - 93 20
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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44
+ - 66 22
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

45
+ - 71 24
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

46
+ - 106 33
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

47
+ - 82 20
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

48
+ - 85 23
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

49
+ - 71 41
Gillian Welch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Gillian Welch American Primitivism, Americana, Rock music

50
+ - 72 29
David Grisman is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
David Grisman Americana, Folk music, Progressive bluegrass