Bands/Musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists  

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21.3k votes 4.2k voters 564.9k views 166 items

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.
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list ordered by

1
597 187
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

2
492 159
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

3
816 244
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
527 208
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

5
434 124
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

6
323 100
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
398 114
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

8
352 100
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

9
278 89
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
254 72
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

11
408 71
Hayseed Dixie is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music, Parody music, Bluegrass

12
300 71
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music

13
331 112
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

14
200 102
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

15
291 97
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

16
205 41
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added

17
191 54
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

18
362 143
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

19
221 123
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

20
251 66
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

21
167 67
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music

22
178 50
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

23
227 58
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

24
202 64
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

25
133 55
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass