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19 Incredible Bluegrass Bands That Will Get Your Feet Tapping

Introduction to Bluegrass Music

Bluegrass music is an American genre that blends traditional and modern sounds to create a fun, upbeat style of music. It emerged in the 1930s and is often associated with the Appalachian Mountains and Kentucky.

The roots of the genre can be traced back to folk music, but it has since evolved to include rock elements and experimental sounds. In this article, we’ll explore the history of bluegrass music, its importance, and the top 19 bluegrass bands.

History of Bluegrass Music

Bluegrass music was invented by Bill Monroe in the mid-1930s when he formed his band, The Blue Grass Boys. Monroe grew up in Kentucky and was heavily influenced by the sounds of the Appalachian Mountains.

He created a unique sound by blending traditional string band music with blues and jazz elements. Monroe’s fast tempos and tight harmonies were a departure from the slow-paced ballads of the time.

He played the mandolin and sang lead vocals, backed by a group of talented musicians. Bluegrass music experienced a resurgence in the 1960s thanks to the folk music revival.

Bands like the Country Gentlemen and the New Lost City Ramblers incorporated bluegrass into their repertoire. The popularity of bluegrass continued to grow, and today, it remains an important part of American music.

Importance of Bluegrass Music

Bluegrass music has a timeless quality that appeals to people of all ages. Its upbeat tempo and catchy melodies make it a fun genre to listen to and play.

Many musicians credit bluegrass music with inspiring them to pick up an instrument. Its traditional sounds provide a connection to the past that is missing from many modern genres.

At the same time, bluegrass music has evolved to include experimental sounds, making it a dynamic and exciting genre.

Top 19 Bluegrass Bands

1. Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys – Bill Monroe is credited with inventing bluegrass music.

His band, The Blue Grass Boys, drew on traditional sounds to create a new style of music that included fast tempos and tight harmonies. They continue to influence bluegrass musicians today.

2. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder – Ricky Skaggs is one of the heirs to Bill Monroe’s legacy.

He has won multiple Grammys for his bluegrass music and is an accomplished mandolin player. Skaggs is known for his energetic performances and skilled musicianship.

3. Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs – Flatt and Scruggs are best known for their hit song “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” They gained national attention when their music was featured on the TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies.

Their instrumental pieces remain popular today. 4.

Alison Krauss & Union Station – Alison Krauss is known for her ethereal voice and skilled fiddle playing. She has won multiple Grammys for her bluegrass music and has toured with Robert Plant.

Krauss has overcome vocal dysphonia to continue making music. 5.

Osborne Brothers – The Osborne Brothers gained fame with their hit song “Rocky Top.” They performed on the Grand Ole Opry for many years and their signature piece, “Ruby Are You Man,” remains a classic of the genre. 6.

Yonder Mountain String Band – Yonder Mountain String Band has revitalized bluegrass music by incorporating rock elements into their sound. They are known for their jam band style and high energy performances.

The band hails from Colorado. 7.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – Doyle Lawson is a skilled banjo and mandolin player. His band, Quicksilver, has won multiple honours from the International Bluegrass Music Association and Lawson himself has received a National Heritage Fellowship.

He recently announced his retirement from touring. 8.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is known for their country-rock sound and for collaborating with bluegrass legends like Earl Scruggs and Roy Acuff. Their album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume Two, won multiple Grammy Awards.

9. New Grass Revival – New Grass Revival pushed the boundaries of bluegrass music by covering songs by the Beatles and Bob Marley.

They included influences from other genres, such as jazz and rock, in their music. Their song “You Plant Your Fields” remains popular today.

10. Country Gentlemen – The Country Gentlemen were the first progressive bluegrass act.

They were known for their shin-kicking performances and humorous stage presence. They were featured on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show and continue to inspire bluegrass musicians today.

Randy Waller and the Country Gentlemen continue to tour. 11.

Del McCoury Band – Del McCoury is a skilled banjo player from Pennsylvania. His band has won multiple Grammy Awards and McCoury himself has received a National Heritage Fellowship.

He hosts the annual DelFest music festival. 12.

Seldom Scene – Seldom Scene is a progressive bluegrass band that covered pop songs and modernized the genre. They are known for their skilled musicianship and have earned a Grammy nomination for their work.

13. Blue Highway – Blue Highway is a horned band from Tennessee.

They were named Album of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association and are known for their talented dobro player. They have also earned a Grammy nomination.

14. The Grascals – The Grascals are a bluegrass band based in Nashville.

They have opened for Dolly Parton and have won multiple honours from the International Bluegrass Music Association. They were awarded the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2011.

15. J.D. Crowe And The New South – J.D. Crowe is a banjo legend and a pioneer of the progressive bluegrass genre.

The band’s music drew on diverse influences, including Fats Domino. They were known for their tight harmonies and the talented musicians they attracted, such as Keith Whitley and Paul Adkins.

16. Lonesome River Band – The Lonesome River Band has gone through many changes over the years and currently features zero original members.

They have performed with Luke Bryan, Earl Thomas Conley, Alan Jackson, and Lee Ann Womack. They were awarded the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2012.

17. Infamous Stringdusters – The Infamous Stringdusters are a progressive bluegrass band known for their jamming style and rock influences.

They have won multiple honours from the International Bluegrass Music Association and a Grammy for their album, A Tribute to Bill Monroe. 18.

The Kentucky Colonels – The Kentucky Colonels were a California-based band that introduced bluegrass to new audiences. They were part of the folk music revival and helped shape the progressive bluegrass genre.

The band featured Clarence White, a skilled flatpicking guitarist. 19.

Trampled By Turtles – Trampled By Turtles hails from Minnesota and has gained a following through their performances at rock festivals. They are known for their energetic style and their song “Alpenglow” has been featured in video games, TV shows, and movies.


Bluegrass music has a rich history that continues to influence musicians today. The genre is fun, upbeat, and traditional while still remaining relevant in modern times.

The 19 bands featured in this article represent the best of bluegrass music and provide a diverse array of sounds and influences. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or new to the genre, there’s something for everyone in bluegrass music.

In conclusion, Bluegrass Music is a genre that emerged in the 1930s and gained popularity during the folk music revival of the 60s and 70s. Its upbeat and traditional sound has evolved to include rock and other experimental music elements.

Bluegrass continues to inspire musicians today, and its legacy is evident in the top 19 bands listed in this article. Bluegrass has a timeless quality that appeals to people of all ages and provides a connection to the past while still remaining relevant today.

Its catchy melodies and fun tempo make it a fun genre to listen to and play.

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