bands/musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists  

Reference
Originally by
18.4k votes 3.6k voters 539.6k views 179 items

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
494 157
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bill Monroe Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

2
713 206
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Alison Krauss & Union Station Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

3
420 138
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Country

4
451 169
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ricky Skaggs Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

5
370 111
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
399 37
Hayseed Dixie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hayseed Dixie Rock music, Parody music, Bluegrass

7
263 88
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

8
348 101
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doc Watson Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
309 89
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Earl Scruggs Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

10
242 81
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

11
227 64
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Lester Flatt Bluegrass, Country

12
264 60
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass, Gospel music

13
288 93
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

14
256 82
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The SteelDrivers Bluegrass

The Sexiest Artists of All Time

15
315 123
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

16
165 86
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

17
158 45
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jimmy Martin Bluegrass

18
199 111
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
220 58
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tony Rice Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

20
194 50
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
140 57
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Dillards Rock music

The Greatest Works of Hunter S. Thompson

22
151 45
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

23
175 58
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

24
149 34
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added The Del McCoury band

25
111 48
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Larry Sparks Bluegrass

26
212 84
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Nickel Creek Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

27
143 50
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jerry Douglas Bluegrass, Country

28
153 59
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kentucky Thunder Bluegrass

The Greatest Banjo Players of All Time

29
156 131
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

30
146 41
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Country Gentlemen Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

31
126 46
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Jim and Jesse Bluegrass

32
94 43
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Old & In the Way Bluegrass

33
148 47
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Sam Bush Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

34
74 41
The Louvin Brothers is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added The Louvin Brothers Christian music, Gospel music, Country

35
97 37
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Don Reno Bluegrass

The 37 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

36
81 30
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

37
71 40
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Maybelle Carter Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

38
111 37
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
J. D. Crowe Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

39
92 40
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mac Wiseman Bluegrass, Country

40
113 60
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
143 52
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
The Grascals Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

42
49 27
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Charlie Waller Bluegrass

The Greatest Artists Who Have Never Won a Grammy

43
95 36
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Tim O'Brien Bluegrass, Country

44
131 61
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Béla Fleck and the Flecktones Pop music, Jazz fusion, Progressive bluegrass

45
108 36
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Hot Rize Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

46
126 50
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Infamous Stringdusters Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

47
102 37
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
John Hartford Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

48
75 37
Mountain Heart is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Mountain Heart Acoustic music, Bluegrass, Country

49
59 54
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Kathy Mattea Bluegrass, Country

50
62 33
Claire Lynch is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Claire Lynch Folk music, Bluegrass, Country