Music

The Best Musical Artists From Kansas  

Ranker Music
773 votes 64 voters 1k views 102 items

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

Here are the best artists and bands from Kansas. Often regarded as the heartland of America, it is easy to see why so many homegrown country and blues artists got their start in the state. Kansas has a vibrant music scene, including the Country Stampede Music Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals in the entire country. It is also home to the Walnut Valley Festival where people from all over the United States gather to enjoy some of the finest bluegrass groups playing today. They get to see some of the best musical artists from Kansas and around the Midwest. 

Country acts, like Martina McBride, define the area so well. However, there are still plenty of rock acts that have come out of the area. The band Kansas naturally got their start in the Sunflower State, along with bands, like The Midnight Ghost Train, Youngblood Supercult, and Split Lip Rayfield. Other popular Kansas artists include Janelle Monaé, Jennifer Knapp, Banshee, and Melissa Etheridge.

Are any of these acts your favorite? Perhaps you will find something you jam out to all the time in the list below. Either way, make sure you vote for your favorites so that everyone knows who the most famous Kansas musical artists are. 

list ordered by
1
Kansas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Heartland rock, Rock music, Progressive rock
Kansas is an American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on album-oriented rock charts and later with hit singles such as "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the ...more
2
Melissa Etheridge is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music
Melissa Lou Etheridge is an American rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist. Her self-titled debut album was released in 1988 and became an underground hit. The album peaked at #22 on ...more
3
Martina McBride is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Adult contemporary music, Country pop, Country
Martina Mariea Schiff, known professionally as Martina McBride, is an American country music singer, songwriter, and record producer. She is known for her soprano singing range and her country ...more
4
Janelle Monáe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Contemporary R&B, Hip hop, Soul
Janelle Monáe Robinson (born December 1, 1985) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. She is signed to Atlantic Records, as well as her own imprint, the Wondaland Arts ...more
5
Split Lip Rayfield is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Bluegrass, Alternative country, Country
Split Lip Rayfield is a vocal and acoustic instrumental group from Wichita, Kansas. Though they are sometimes classified as a bluegrass, alt-country, or cowpunk band, their music draws on a wide ...more
6
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Justin Wade Clements added Jazz, Bebop
Charles Parker, Jr., also known as "Yardbird" and "Bird", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in ...more
7
The Esoteric is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Rock music, Mathcore, Experimental rock
The Esoteric is a hardcore/rock band founded in 1996 from Lawrence, Kansas. They are currently signed to Prosthetic Records. Following several self-produced EPs, the band's debut full-length, ...more
8
The Midnight Ghost Train is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
The Midnight Ghost Train Stoner rock
The Midnight Ghost Train is an American rock band from Topeka, Kansas. The band’s line-up consists of Steve Moss, Brandon Burghart, and Mike Boyne. The trio has been categorized as hard rock, ...more
9
Diane Bish is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Diane Joyce Bish is an American organist and composer as well as executive producer of the Joy of Music television series. As a concert organist, she performs frequently at recitals throughout ...more
10
Ultimate Fakebook is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Emo, Power pop, Alternative rock
Ultimate Fakebook is a 3-piece power pop band from Manhattan, KS. They released three full-length albums—Electric Kissing Parties, This Will Be Laughing Week, and Open up and Say Awesome. ...more
11
Joyce DiDonato is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Joyce DiDonato is an American operatic lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano notable for her interpretations of the works of Handel, Mozart, and Rossini. She has performed with many of the world's ...more
12
Eden Ahbez is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Eden Ahbez Exotica
George Alexander Aberle, known as eden ahbez, was an American songwriter and recording artist of the 1940s to 1960s, whose lifestyle in California was influential on the hippie movement. He was ...more
13
XV is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Alternative hip hop
Donavan LaMond Johnson better known by his stage name XV is an American rapper, singer and songwriter from Wichita, Kansas. He first gained major attention after the release of his twelfth ...more
14
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Swing music, Bebop
Coleman Randolph Hawkins, nicknamed Hawk and sometimes "Bean", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. ...more
15
Dawayne Bailey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Pop music, Rock music
Dawayne Bailey is an American guitarist who has toured and recorded with Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Véronique Sanson, and Chicago. Bailey was born and raised in Manhattan, ...more
16
Joe Walsh is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Justin Wade Clements added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock
Joseph Fidler "Joe" Walsh is an American singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Walsh has been a member of ...more
17
Stan Kenton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Swing music, Jazz, West Coast jazz
Stanley Newcomb "Stan" Kenton was a pianist, composer, and arranger who led an innovative, influential, and often controversial American jazz orchestra. In later years he was active as
18
Butterglory is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Indie pop, Indie rock, Lo-fi music
Butterglory is an American indie-rock band from Lawrence, Kansas. Contemporaries of indie rock groups like Pavement and Archers of Loaf, the band helped explore similar musical territories and ...more
19
Randy Sparks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Randy Sparks Folk music
Randy Sparks is a musician, singer-songwriter and founder of The New Christy Minstrels and The Back Porch Majority. Sparks grew up in Oakland, California and attended the University of ...more
20
Bobby Watson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Bobby Watson
Bobby Watson is an American post-bop jazz alto saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator. Watson now has 26 recordings as a leader. He appears on nearly 100 other recordings as either ...more
21
Chris Mann is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Chris Mann Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Opera
Christopher Michael "Chris" Mann is a classically trained American singer-songwriter from Wichita, Kansas. He came in fourth on the second season of NBC's television singing ...more
22
Hattie McDaniel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Hattie McDaniel was an American actress. She is best known for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first ...more
23
Katrina Leskanich is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music
Katrina Elizabeth Leskanich is an American musician, author and former lead singer of English pop rock band Katrina and The Waves whose song "Walking on Sunshine" was an international ...more
24
Peter Max Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Peter Max Lawrence
Peter Max Lawrence is a contemporary media artist working within painting, video installation, sculpture, photography and drawing. He currently resides in San Francisco.
25
Vivian Vance is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kansas
Vivian Vance was an American television and theater actress and singer. Vance is best known for her role as Ethel Mertz, sidekick to Lucille Ball on the American television sitcom I Love Lucy, ...more