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
563 172
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

2
467 147
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

3
772 230
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
496 193
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

5
412 117
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

6
302 94
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
337 95
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

8
376 109
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
263 84
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
405 55
Hayseed Dixie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music, Parody music, Bluegrass

11
244 67
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

12
286 65
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music

13
319 105
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

14
187 96
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

15
179 49
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

16
341 131
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

17
269 90
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

18
214 118
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

19
182 38
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added

20
236 62
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

21
159 62
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music

22
217 53
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

23
169 46
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

24
195 61
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

25
127 52
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

26
163 42
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

27
159 55
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

28
226 92
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

29
165 64
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

30
139 48
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

31
107 47
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Bluegrass

32
163 142
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

33
162 52
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

34
82 45
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Christian music, Gospel music, Country

35
108 40
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

36
84 45
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

37
108 43
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

38
123 39
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

39
88 36
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

40
58 30
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

41
108 38
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

42
120 67
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

43
154 58
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

44
120 36
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

45
136 68
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
132 54
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

48
79 43
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

49
62 59
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

50
78 27
Reno and Smiley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass