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BellaOnline's Folk Music Editor

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Top 10 Bluegrass Artists

Guest Author - Chris Curtis

These are the artists that are considered to be among the best performers who consistently produce the traditional Bluegrass sound.

1. Earl Scruggs - Going strong at the age of 80+, Earl Scruggs recently released Earl Scruggs and the 5 String Banjo and continues to tour regularly. Clearly, the most influential 5 string bluegrass banjo player, Scruggs, along with Bill Monroe and his compatriot, Lester Flatt, is considered one of the founders of the Bluegrass sound.


2. Rhonda Vincent and The Rage IBMA has awarded Rhonda the Female Vocalists of the Year for six consecutive years (2000-2005), an honor no other performer has ever achieved. Equally comfortable on mandolin, guitar, or fiddle, Rhonda has been an award winning bluegrass performer since the 70s.


3. Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky - Thunder - Ricky's roots are steeped in tradition having performed with Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers as a youngster. After a successful and award winning career as a Country Music artist, Ricky has returned to his traditional bluegrass roots.


4. Del McCoury Band - steeped in the tradition of Flatt and Scruggs, Del McCoury has been a perennial favorite on the Bluegrass circuit. Del's notoriety rose in the early sixties when Bill Monroe invited him to join the Bluegrass Boys as a guitar player. In the early 80s, Ronnie and Robbie joined their dad to form the now award winning Del McCoury band.


5. Lonesome River Band - with the 1991 release of Carrying the Tradition and the subsequent IBMA's Album of the Year award, Lonesome River Band returned to its Bluegrass roots. This band has launched several top bluegrass artists Dan Tyminski and Ron Stewart. Under the leadership of Sammy Shelor and through several changes in the lineup, Lonesome River Band continues to stay on the top of the Bluegrass charts.


6. Alison Krauss and Union Station - in the past 17 years, Alison Krauss and Union Station have produced 10 studio albums and won numerous awards including 17 Grammys and several CMT and IBMA awards. Since her introduction at the tender age of 16, Alison and her band of talented musicians have enjoyed a continuous ride on the top of the charts.


7. J.D. Crowe & the New South - legendary banjoist, JD Crowe has delighted fans since the mid-50s. Forming in 1975, the New South is known for its hard driving bluegrass and country sound. Dedicated to preserving the traditional Bluegrass sound, the band has produced a series of albums covering the songs from the 1st generation of bluegrass greats.


8. Dan Paisley and the Southern Grass Southern Grass continues on after the loss of the long term band leader Bob Paisley. Dan Paisley, Bob's son, continues to carry on the traditions established by his dad. Dan is a wonderfully expressive vocalist and accomplished guitarist. He is joined by his brother, bassist Michael Paisley, Bob Lundy on banjo, T.J. Lundy on fiddle, and Don Eldreth Jr. on mandolin.
Bob Paisley and the Southern Grass: Heritage

9. Ralph Stanley - After more than 50 years performing bluegrass music, Ralph Stanley was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2000. He is considered one of the most influential banjo pickers having stretched the 3 finger roll style of Scruggs into his own style incorporating a fast forward roll. Stanley, along with his brother Carter, has fronted the Clinch Mountain Boys since 1946. Several notable bluegrass artists have emerged from his under his protective wing to become noted performers in their own right. Today, Stanley quips in his live show to invite everyone to a performance on his 100 birthday party, 20 years from now. What a honor that would be.


10. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - celebrating 25 years, Doyle and the band have produced more than 30 notable bluegrass recordings. As a youngster, Doyle was attracted to the high lonesome sound of Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. At the age of 14, Doyle met Jimmy Martin and decided he wanted to make his living with music. After 10 years, working with Jim Martin, JD Crowe, and the Country Gentlemen, Doyle formed Quicksilver in 1979 looking to develop his own sound.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Chris Curtis. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Chris Curtis. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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