bands/musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists  

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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
377 76
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bill Monroe Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

35 Celebrities Who Play in a Band The Best Blues Bands of All Time

2
339 80
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Country

3
383 94
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

4
590 122
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Alison Krauss & Union Station Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

5
300 52
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ralph Stanley Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

6
216 44
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
268 44
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

8
293 53
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
204 41
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
200 35
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

11
141 57
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

12
226 48
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

13
174 77
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Patty Loveless Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

14
260 59
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

15
272 81
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old Crow Medicine Show Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

The Best Progressive Bluegrass Bands/Artists The Best Dogs for City Living

16
134 27
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

17
225 39
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

18
151 33
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

19
114 36
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

20
165 27
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Seldom Scene Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

21
94 29
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

22
126 26
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

23
181 35
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

24
190 58
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nickel Creek Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

25
111 16
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added The Del McCoury band

26
127 102
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

27
129 33
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

28
113 26
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jim and Jesse Bluegrass

29
63 20
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added The Louvin Brothers Christian music, Gospel music, Country

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30
75 26
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Old & In the Way Bluegrass

31
133 42
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

32
121 25
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Country Gentlemen Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

33
59 27
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Maybelle Carter Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

34
128 32
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

35
86 26
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

36
134 40
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

37
99 40
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Chris Thile Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

38
55 38
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

39
67 19
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

40
113 48
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones Pop music, Jazz fusion, Progressive bluegrass

41
40 16
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

42
99 26
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hot Rize Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

43
96 24
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
J. D. Crowe Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

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44
73 26
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

45
109 36
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

46
66 26
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

47
84 23
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

48
87 27
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

49
73 45
Gillian Welch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Gillian Welch American Primitivism, Americana, Rock music

50
98 41
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Clark Benson added Steve Martin