Music

The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky  

Ranker Music
536 votes 65 voters 1k views 101 items

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

Here are the best artists and bands from Kentucky. Many musical traditions are important to the people of Kentucky. Bluegrass is prominent in the region as well as Appalachian folk music. This type of music draws influence from English ballads and songs from Scotland and Ireland. Merle Travis, a famous country and western singer born in the state, developed a new style of guitar picking that was later named after him. Kentucky is responsible for a lot of great music, but have you ever wondered who the best musical artists from Kentucky are?

Some artists, like Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees, were born in Kentucky but raised elsewhere. Other famous artists like Joan Osborne spent their entire childhoods in the Bluegrass State. Numerous bands, such as Nappy Roots and My Morning Jacket, were based out of Kentucky for a time before they grew in national acclaim. Kentucky truly has a storied history, and these roots have influenced music for the past several decades. Other popular Kentucky artists include Billy Ray Cyrus, Cage the Elephant, The Everly Brothers, and Bryson Tiller.

These artists may come from all different kinds of genres, but it is up to the readers to decide who should take the top spot. Will a country act take first or a hard rock band? It is up to you, so start voting for your favorite Kentucky musical artists. 

list ordered by
1
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music
William Smith Monroe was an American mandolinist, singer, and songwriter who created the style of music known as bluegrass. The genre takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for ...more
2
Chris Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Bluegrass, Country, Southern rock
Chris Stapleton is an American country, bluegrass, and rock musician signed to Universal Music Group Nashville. He is an established songwriter. with four number one songs including the 5-week ...more
3
Cage the Elephant is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Punk blues, Garage rock, Garage punk
Cage the Elephant is an American rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, that formed in 2006. The group currently consists of Matthew "Matt" Shultz, Brad "Dave" Shultz, Jared ...more
4
Sturgill Simpson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Americana, Alternative country, Roots rock
John Sturgill Simpson (born June 8, 1978) is an American country music singer-songwriter. As of August 2017, he has released three albums as a solo artist. He released two albums independently, ...more
5
Loretta Lynn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Honky-tonk, Alternative country, Gospel music
Loretta Lynn, is a multiple gold album American country music singer-songwriter whose work spans more than 50 years. She has received numerous awards and other accolades for her groundbreaking ...more
6
Billy Ray Cyrus is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Country pop, Country rock, Alternative rock
William "Billy" Ray Cyrus is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. Having released twelve studio albums and forty-four singles since 1992, he is best known for his number one ...more
7
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass
Charles Samuel "Sam" Bush is an American bluegrass mandolin player considered an originator of the Newgrass style.
8
The Everly Brothers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Christian music, Rock music, Rockabilly
The Everly Brothers were American country-influenced rock and roll singers, known for steel-string guitar and close harmony singing. Isaac Donald "Don" Everly and Phillip ...more
9
Chris Knight is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Folk music, Country
Chris Knight is an American singer-songwriter from Slaughters, Kentucky. In addition to releasing solo records of his own material, Knight has had a successful career writing songs that have ...more
10
Black Stone Cherry is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal
Black Stone Cherry is an American hard rock band, formed in 2001 in Edmonton, Kentucky. They are signed to Roadrunner Records. The band consists of Chris Robertson, Ben Wells, Jon Lawhon, and ...more
11
The Kentucky Headhunters is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Country rock, Country, Southern rock
The Kentucky Headhunters is an American country rock and Southern rock band. They were founded in 1968 as Itchy Brother, which consisted of brothers Richard Young and Fred Young along with Greg ...more
12
Dwight Yoakam is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Rockabilly, Country rock, Country
Dwight David Yoakam is an American singer-songwriter, actor and film director, most famous for his pioneering country music. Popular since the early 1980s, he has recorded more than 21 albums ...more
13
John Michael Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Country
John Michael Montgomery is an American country music artist. Montgomery began singing with his brother Eddie, who is one-half of the country duo Montgomery Gentry, before beginning his ...more
14
Tom T. Hall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Outlaw country, Bluegrass, Country
Thomas "Tom T." Hall is a retired American country music songwriter, singer, novelist, and short-story writer. He has written 11 No. 1 hit songs, with 26 more that reached the Top 10, ...more
15
The Connie Dungs is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Pop punk, Rock music, Rock and roll
The Connie Dungs were an American punk rock band from Ashland, Kentucky, formed in 1994. The core of the group is composed of Brandon Tussey and brothers Chris Griffith and Wayne Griffith.
16
Adrian Belew is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Rock music, Industrial rock, Progressive rock
Adrian Belew is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. A multi-instrumentalist primarily known as a guitarist, Belew is perhaps best known for his work as a member of the ...more
17
Joan Osborne is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Rock music, Folk music, Country rock
Joan Elizabeth Osborne is an American singer-songwriter and interpreter of music, having recorded and performed in various popular American musical genres including pop, soul, R&B, blues and ...more
18
Keith Whitley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Country
Jackie Keith Whitley, known professionally as Keith Whitley, was an American country music singer. During his short career, Whitley charted 19 singles on the Billboard country charts. Born in ...more
19
Montgomery Gentry is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Country
Montgomery Gentry is an American country music duo composed of vocalists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, both natives of Kentucky. The two began performing in the 1990s as part of two ...more
20
My Morning Jacket is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Heartland rock, Rock music, Country rock
My Morning Jacket is an American rock band formed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1998. The band currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Jim James, bassist Tom Blankenship, drummer Patrick Hallahan, ...more
21
Rosemary Clooney is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz
Rosemary Clooney was an American cabaret singer and actress. She came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit "Come On-a My House", which was followed by other pop ...more
22
Tantric is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Rock music, Post-grunge, Alternative rock
Tantric is an American rock band from Louisville, Kentucky. The group was founded in 1999 by former Days of the New members Todd Whitener, Jesse Vest and Matt Taul, later recruiting Hugo ...more
23
Bryson Tiller is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
R&B, Hip hop
Bryson Djuan Tiller (born January 2, 1993), is an American singer, songwriter and rapper. Tiller initially gained notable recognition following the release of his debut single, ...more
24
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk
Patty Loveless, is an American country music singer. Since her emergence on the country music scene in late 1986 with her first album, Loveless has been one of the most popular female singers of ...more
25
Jackie DeShannon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Musical Artists From Kentucky
Pop music
Jackie DeShannon is an American singer-songwriter with a string of hit song credits from the 1960s onwards. She was one of the first female singer-songwriters of the rock 'n' roll period. ...more