Bands/Musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists  

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List Rules Not to be confused with folk artists, vote up the best bluegrass bands and musicians since the Bluegrass Band started it all.

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.
list ordered by

1
557 168
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

2
460 143
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

3
765 227
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
489 185
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

5
407 116
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

6
297 94
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
372 107
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

8
332 95
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

9
260 84
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
404 52
Hayseed Dixie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music, Parody music, Bluegrass

11
239 67
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

12
284 65
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music

13
314 103
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

14
185 94
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

15
339 130
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

16
268 89
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

17
213 116
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

18
175 49
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

19
215 52
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

20
177 37
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added

21
233 62
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

22
156 62
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music

23
166 46
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

24
191 61
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

25
124 52
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

26
157 54
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

27
224 90
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

28
160 42
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

29
164 64
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

30
162 139
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

31
106 47
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Bluegrass

32
136 48
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

33
160 52
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

34
83 44
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

35
81 45
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Christian music, Gospel music, Country

36
104 40
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

37
106 42
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

38
121 39
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

39
87 36
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

40
120 65
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

41
57 30
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

42
107 38
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

43
153 58
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

44
119 36
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

45
135 67
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Pop music, Jazz fusion, Progressive bluegrass

46
115 40
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

47
130 54
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

48
62 58
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

49
77 42
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

50
98 44
David Grisman is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Progressive bluegrass