Music

The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas  

Ranker Music
347 votes 46 voters 1.6k views 100 items

List Rules Only artists born or raised in Arkansas or bands formed in Arkansas..

Here are the best artists and bands from Arkansas. Like most other southern states, Arkansas has produced a lot of country music stars over the years. Many of the artists coming out of the state have also dabbled with rockabilly and bluegrass. It is clear music is an integral part of Arkansas' DNA. This is likely why former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was noted on the campaign trail for playing the saxophone. The best musical artists from Arkansas are diverse and eclectic, and it may surprise some of you to see who is on this list. 

Some of the most influential musicians of all time were either born or raised in the Natural State. Johnny Cash, one of the most revered country stars who ever lived, was born in Kingsland. Later in life, Cash was inspired by his family's struggled during the Great Depression as they tried to carve out lives for themselves in Arkansas. Other popular Arkansas artists include Al Green, Evanescence, Ne-Yo, and Conway Twitty. 

How many of these artists do you listen to on a regular basis? Vote for your favorite singers and bands (even heavy metal bands) on this list of the most famous Arkansas musical artists. All music fans will find someone they like right here. 

list ordered by
1
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana
John R. "Johnny" Cash was a singer-songwriter, actor, and author, widely considered one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. Although primarily remembered as ...more
2
Peetie Wheatstraw is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Peetie Wheatstraw St. Louis blues, Blues
Peetie Wheatstraw was the name adopted by the singer William Bunch, an influential figure among 1930s blues singers. Although the only known photograph of Bunch shows him holding a National ...more
3
Robert Nighthawk is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Blues
Robert Lee McCollum was an American blues musician, who played and recorded under the pseudonyms Robert Lee McCoy and Robert Nighthawk. He is the father of blues musician Sam Carr.
4
Louis Jordan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Jump blues, Ska, Rock music
Louis Thomas Jordan was a pioneering American musician, songwriter and bandleader who enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the ...more
5
James Cotton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Chicago blues, Rock music, Memphis blues
James Cotton is an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, who has performed and recorded with many of the great blues artists of his time as well as with his own band. Although ...more
6
Cedell Davis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Delta blues
CeDell Davis is an American blues guitarist and singer. Davis is most notable for his distinctive style of guitar playing. Davis plays guitar using a table knife in his fretting hand in a manner ...more
7
Grandpa Jones is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Old-time music, Bluegrass, Gospel music
Louis Marshall Jones, known professionally as Grandpa Jones, was an American banjo player and "old time" country and gospel music singer. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of
8
Ed Bruce is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Country
William Edwin "Ed" Bruce, Jr. is an American country music songwriter and singer. He is known for penning the 1975 song "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" ...more
9
Evanescence is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Rock music, Gothic metal, Alternative rock
Evanescence is an American rock/metal band founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 by singer/pianist Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody. After recording independent albums, the band released their ...more
10
Larry Davis is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Soul blues, Electric blues, Texas blues
Larry Davis was an American electric Texas blues and soul blues musician. He is best known for co-composing the song "Texas Flood", later recorded to greater commercial success by
11
Skeets McDonald is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Rockabilly, Honky-tonk, Country
Enos William McDonald, better known as Skeets McDonald, was an American country and rockabilly musician popular during the 1950s and 60s. Best known for the Slim Willet-penned song "Don't ...more
12
Robert Lockwood Jr. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Chicago blues, Electric blues, Country blues
Robert Lockwood, Jr., also known as Robert Junior Lockwood, was an American Delta blues guitarist, who recorded for Chess Records among other Chicago labels in the 1950s and 1960s. The only ...more
13
Big Bill Broonzy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Chicago blues, Folk music, Spiritual
Big Bill Broonzy was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly African-American audiences. Through the ...more
14
William Warfield is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
William Caesar Warfield, was an American concert bass-baritone singer and actor. One of his earliest professional engagements was in Marc Blitzstein's Broadway opera, Regina. His breakthrough ...more
15
The Gossip is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Punk blues, Dance-punk, Garage rock
Gossip is a three-piece American indie rock band formed in 1999 in Olympia, Washington. The band consists of singer Beth Ditto, guitarist Brace Paine and drummer Hannah Blilie. After releasing ...more
16
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Marie ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
17
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music
Pharoah Sanders is a Grammy Award-winning American jazz saxophonist. Saxophonist Ornette Coleman once described him as "probably the best tenor player in the world." Emerging from John ...more
18
Conway Twitty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Rock and roll, Country
Conway Twitty was an American musician and singer. He had success in the country, rock, R&B, and pop genres. He held the record for the most number one singles of any act, with 40 No. 1 ...more
19
Al Green is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Smooth soul, Rhythm and blues, Soul music
Albert "Al" Greene, often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an American singer best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Tired of Being ...more
20
Glen Campbell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Pop music, Rock music, Folk music
Glen Travis Campbell is an American country music singer, guitarist, television host, and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a ...more
21
Ne-Yo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B
Shaffer Chimere Smith, known by his stage name Ne-Yo, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. Ne-Yo gained fame for his song-writing abilities when he ...more
22
Charlie Rich is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Blue-eyed soul, Country pop, Pop music
Charles Rich was an American country music singer and musician. His eclectic style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, encompassing the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, and ...more
23
Tracy Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Country
Tracy Lawrence is an American country music artist. He started at a country music restaurant called "Live At Libby's" where owner Libby Knight would help local talent find their way ...more
24
Justin Moore is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Country
Justin Cole Moore is an American country music singer and songwriter signed to Big Machine Records imprint Valory Music Group. For that label, he has released three studio albums — his self ...more
25
Floyd Cramer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Arkansas
Floyd Cramer was an American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the "Nashville sound". He was known for his "slip note" piano style, where an out-of-key ...more