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
367 71
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
333 71
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
374 86
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

4
575 118
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
286 49
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
210 43
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
262 41
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

8
288 48
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
195 40
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
199 31
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

11
219 43
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

12
134 55
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

13
253 57
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

14
168 76
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Patty Loveless Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

15
267 77
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
161 23
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Seldom Scene Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

17
220 36
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

18
129 25
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

19
147 29
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

20
111 33
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

21
179 30
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

22
122 22
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

23
90 25
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

24
106 13
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added The Del McCoury band

25
124 98
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

26
184 55
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 31
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

28
109 23
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jim and Jesse Bluegrass

29
61 18
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added The Louvin Brothers Christian music, Gospel music, Country

The Best Progressive Bluegrass Bands/Artists The Best Bluegrass Albums of All Time

30
71 23
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Old & In the Way Bluegrass

31
130 40
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

32
118 23
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
128 28
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

34
85 23
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

35
58 25
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Maybelle Carter Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

36
133 38
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

37
54 35
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

38
97 38
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Chris Thile Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

39
66 17
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

40
39 14
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

41
110 47
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
98 23
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 21
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
71 24
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

45
66 23
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

46
107 34
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

47
83 21
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

48
85 24
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

49
73 42
Gillian Welch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Gillian Welch American Primitivism, Americana, Rock music

50
93 40
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Clark Benson added Steve Martin