The Best Musical Artists From Rhode Island

List Rules
Only artists born or raised in Rhode Island or bands formed in Rhode Island.

Here are the best artists and bands from Rhode Island. The land of pristine shorelines and historic landmarks also has a richly vibrant music scene centered around Providence. The city became particularly famous around the 1990s when noise rock began to take hold in the public's consciousness. It is also home to various music festivals, such as the Newport Folk and Newport Jazz festivals, where bands from all over the United States gather to treat locals to a day of fun, good vibes, and the best musical artists from Rhode Island. 

It is hard to pin down a definitive sound of the region. Some bands like The Dear Hunter play more progressive rock that has a variety of styles while The Low Anthem is more experimental in its styling. The same variety can be seen in the singers that come out of the Ocean State. Billy Gilman is a country artist who made his way up the ranks on The Voice while Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has released several solo albums. Other popular Rhode Island artists include Sage Francis, Velvet Crush, and Daughters.

Regardless of what music you like best, there is something for everyone in Rhode Island. These are the most famous Rhode Island musical artists, but there are plenty of other smaller acts that play regularly around the state. Vote for your favorites.

Ranked by
  • John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band
    Heartland rock, Rock music
    84 votes
    • Albums: Eddie & The Cruisers, Tough All Over, Roadhouse, Eddie and the Cruisers II, Eddie and the Cruisers: The Unreleased Tapes
    John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band is an American rock band from Rhode Island which began its career in the 1970s and achieved mainstream success in the 1980s. Originally known as simply Beaver ...more
  • Throwing Muses
    Alternative rock, Post-punk
    51 votes
    • Albums: The Real Ramona, Hunkpapa, University, Purgatory/Paradise, Throwing Muses
    Throwing Muses is an alternative rock band formed in 1981 in Newport, Rhode Island, that toured and recorded extensively until 1997, when its members began concentrating more on other projects. The ...more
  • Wendy Carlos
    Synthpop, Electronic music, Classical music
    22 votes
    • Albums: Tron, Switched‐On Brandenburgs, Volume 1, Peter & the Wolf / Carnival of the Animals, Part 2
    Wendy Carlos (born Walter Carlos; November 14, 1939) is an American musician and composer best known for her electronic music and film scores. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Carlos studied physics ...more
  • Atwater-Donnelly


    20 votes
    Atwater-Donnelly is a Rhode Island folk music group consisting of Aubrey Atwater, Elwood Donnelly, and occasionally other musicians and dancers. They have toured throughout the United States and ...more
  • Roomful of Blues
    Blues-rock, Jump blues, Jazz blues
    46 votes
    • Albums: There Goes the Neighborhood, Dance All Night, Under One Roof, Standing Room Only, The First Album
    Roomful of Blues is an American blues and swing revival big band based in Rhode Island. With a recording career that spans over 40 years, they have toured worldwide and recorded many albums. Roomful ...more
  • Duke Robillard
    Blues-rock, Swing music, Rockabilly
    45 votes
    • Albums: Duke`s Box, The Blues And More, New Blues for Modern Man, Duke's Blues, Explorer
    Michael John "Duke" Robillard (born October 4, 1948) is an American guitarist and singer. He founded the band Roomful of Blues and was a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Although Robillard is ...more