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
+ - 309 61
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Country

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2
+ - 349 73
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

3
+ - 336 63
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bill Monroe Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

4
+ - 543 105
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
+ - 267 46
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
+ - 197 37
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
+ - 248 38
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

8
+ - 276 45
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
+ - 178 38
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
+ - 192 27
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

11
+ - 205 36
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

12
+ - 161 67
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
+ - 130 51
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
+ - 244 53
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

15
+ - 254 70
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
+ - 215 31
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

17
+ - 123 22
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

18
+ - 97 9
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

19
+ - 153 22
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Seldom Scene Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

20
+ - 140 27
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

21
+ - 106 31
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

22
+ - 166 26
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

23
+ - 88 24
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

24
+ - 117 82
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

25
+ - 117 21
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

26
+ - 174 51
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nickel Creek Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

27
+ - 119 27
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

28
+ - 126 34
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

29
+ - 101 23
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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30
+ - 55 17
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

31
+ - 63 19
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old & In the Way Bluegrass

32
+ - 115 21
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
+ - 54 20
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
+ - 83 20
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

35
+ - 50 28
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

36
+ - 122 25
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

37
+ - 129 34
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

38
+ - 65 14
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

39
+ - 39 11
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

40
+ - 94 35
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Chris Thile Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

41
+ - 105 42
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
+ - 92 19
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
J. D. Crowe Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

43
+ - 71 23
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

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44
+ - 65 21
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

45
+ - 90 21
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hot Rize Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

46
+ - 103 32
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

47
+ - 77 20
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

48
+ - 82 23
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

49
+ - 69 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
+ - 17 10
Hillbilly Gypsies is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists