Bands/Musicians The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists  

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20.8k votes 4.1k voters 558.9k views 165 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.
list ordered by

1
482 152
Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

2
579 181
Bill Monroe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Bluegrass, Gospel music

3
795 241
Alison Krauss & Union Station is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

4
513 202
Ricky Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

5
423 124
Ralph Stanley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Traditional bluegrass, Old-time music, Bluegrass

6
315 100
The Stanley Brothers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

7
346 98
Earl Scruggs is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

8
388 114
Doc Watson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Gospel music

9
273 88
The Osborne Brothers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

10
405 65
Hayseed Dixie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music, Parody music, Bluegrass

11
251 71
Lester Flatt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

12
324 110
Rhonda Vincent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music, Country

13
293 71
Doyle Lawson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Gospel music

14
354 137
Old Crow Medicine Show is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Old-time music

15
185 52
Jimmy Martin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

16
191 100
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Dubstep, Jug band, Country pop

17
277 96
The SteelDrivers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

18
195 41
The Del McCoury band is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
cam-mac added

19
216 121
Patty Loveless is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Country pop, Country rock, Honky-tonk

20
241 65
Tony Rice is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Americana, Folk music, Bluegrass

21
174 49
J.D. Crowe and the New South is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

22
220 56
The Seldom Scene is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

23
161 66
The Dillards is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Rock music

24
198 64
Lonesome River Band is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

25
130 54
Larry Sparks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

26
164 58
Jerry Douglas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

27
166 44
The Country Gentlemen is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass, Country

28
231 95
Nickel Creek is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Acoustic music, Progressive bluegrass, Country

29
113 49
Old & In the Way is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
dlf1203 added Bluegrass

30
171 67
Kentucky Thunder is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

31
142 50
Jim and Jesse is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

32
164 151
Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

33
169 55
Sam Bush is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

34
84 46
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
86 46
Maybelle Carter is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
DebbyHood added Old-time music, Gospel music, Country

36
109 41
Don Reno is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

37
109 44
Mac Wiseman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

38
125 41
J. D. Crowe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

39
89 37
The Nashville Bluegrass Band is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists

40
59 32
Charlie Waller is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

41
110 40
Tim O'Brien is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

42
122 71
Chris Thile is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Classical music, Progressive bluegrass

43
158 60
The Grascals is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Southern Gospel

44
124 37
Hot Rize is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Bluegrass

45
138 70
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
119 41
John Hartford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Bluegrass, Country

47
136 55
Infamous Stringdusters is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Folk music, Jam band, Bluegrass

48
64 60
Kathy Mattea is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass, Country

49
80 27
Reno and Smiley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
Bluegrass

50
103 63
Gillian Welch is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Bluegrass Bands and Artists
American Primitivism, Americana, Rock music