Bands/Musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists  

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19.4k votes 3.8k voters 545.3k views 163 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.

1
529 163
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bill Monroe Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

2
439 140
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
741 218
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Alison Krauss & Union Station Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
470 175
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

5
389 114
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
279 94
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
360 106
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

8
318 93
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

9
402 50
Hayseed Dixie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hayseed Dixie Rock music, Parody music, Bluegrass

10
248 83
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

11
233 67
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

12
302 98
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

13
265 87
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

14
272 65
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

The Sexiest Artists of All Time

15
177 91
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

16
331 128
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Old Crow Medicine Show Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

17
168 48
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

18
204 116
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Patty Loveless Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

19
226 60
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

20
148 59
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

21
203 52
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Seldom Scene Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

Vote: Your Globe Noms Picks for Best Actress in a Comedy, Movies

22
164 36
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added The Del McCoury band

23
158 46
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

24
184 61
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

25
118 50
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

26
219 88
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nickel Creek Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

27
151 53
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

28
155 41
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Country Gentlemen Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time

29
160 137
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

30
159 64
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

31
100 46
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Old & In the Way Bluegrass

32
130 48
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jim and Jesse Bluegrass

33
156 51
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

34
80 43
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Maybelle Carter Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

35
77 44
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added The Louvin Brothers Christian music, Gospel music, Country

The 37 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

36
100 40
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

37
99 41
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

38
84 34
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

39
116 39
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
J. D. Crowe Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

40
118 63
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Chris Thile Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

41
101 38
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

42
51 30
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

The Best Progressive Bluegrass Bands/Artists

43
147 58
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

44
116 36
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hot Rize Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

45
132 66
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones Pop music, Jazz fusion, Progressive bluegrass

46
129 53
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

47
111 40
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

48
75 41
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

49
60 58
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

50
75 45
Sarah Jarosz is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sarah Jarosz Folk music, Old-time music, Progressive bluegrass