The 10 Best Newgrass & New Bluegrass Bands


newgrass and new bluegrass bands

There’s been a bit of a bluegrass revival in recent years, with younger bands and players bringing fresh blood into the bluegrass scene. This new wave of bluegrass music is sometimes called “Newgrass.” If you’re looking to explore the newcomers to the bluegrass scene, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll look at the best and most talented newgrass and new bluegrass bands and players.

I’ve included a sample of each band’s music from YouTube. But if you really want to enjoy the full catalog of their music, I recommend listening to their body of work with Amazon Music Unlimited.

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With Amazon Music’s free trial, you get access to over 60 million songs completely free – and you can listen anytime, anywhere. You can check it out here (link to Amazon).

Now without further ado, let’s discover the 30 best dobro players of all time.

Alison Kraus & Union Station

Alison Maria Krauss is an American bluegrass-country singer and musician. She entered the music industry at an early age, winning local contests by the age of 10 and recording for the first time at 14. She signed with Rounder Records in 1985 and released her first solo album in 1987. She was invited to join the band with which she still performs, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and later released her first album with them as a group in 1989.

Krauss has released fourteen albums, appeared on numerous soundtracks, and sparked a renewed interest in bluegrass music in the United States

Billy Strings

Billy Strings is one of the young up and comers of the bluegrass flatpicking guitar world. But make no mistake – he has the talent to roll and play with the best of them. Billy has a unique, fast-paced style that is an amalgam of many of the bluegrass greats named elsewhere on this list. In particular, key influences for him were Doc Watson and Tony Rice.

Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show is an Americana string band based in Nashville, Tennessee, that has been recording since 1998. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on September 17, 2013. Their ninth album, Remedy, released in 2014, won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. Their song “Wagon Wheel” (above) is extremely popular and well known, and has brought many new listeners into the world of bluegrass and newgrass music.

The String Cheese Incident

The String Cheese Incident (or SCI) is an American band from Crested Butte and Telluride, Colorado, formed in 1993. The band is composed of Michael Kang (acoustic/electric mandolin, electric guitar, and violin), Michael Travis (drums and percussion), Bill Nershi (acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, and electric slide guitar), Kyle Hollingsworth (piano, organ, Rhodes, and accordion), and Keith Moseley (bass guitar), and, since 2004, Jason Hann (auxiliary percussion).

Their music has elements of bluegrass sounds, as well as rock, electronica, calypso, country, funk, jazz, Latin, progressive rock, reggae, and psychedelia. All members write original compositions and sing.

Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass is a five-piece American bluegrass/rock band founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan in mid-2000. The band has evolved over the years, growing from 3 to 5 members, adding electric effects, and touring with a full light show.

Mandolin Orange, now Watchhouse

Watchhouse – formerly Mandolin Orange – is an Americana/folk duo based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group was formed in 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and consists of songwriter Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, who are married to each other. Watchhouse has produced six albums of Marlin’s original works of American roots music.

Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek & Chris Thile

Christopher Scott Thile is an American mandolinist, singer, songwriter, composer, and radio personality.

Thile is best known for his work in the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek and the acoustic folk and progressive bluegrass quintet Punch Brothers.

He is also a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.

The Devil Makes Three

The Devil Makes Three is an Americana band from Santa Cruz, California, United States. The group blends bluegrass, old time, country, folk, blues, jazz, and ragtime music. The group’s members are guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, and guitarist and tenor banjo player Cooper McBean.

The Lil Smokies

Drawing on the energy of a rock band and the Laurel Canyon songwriting of the ‘70s, The Lil Smokies are reimagining their approach to roots music on Tornillo, named for the remote Texas town where the album was recorded.

Produced by Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses), Tornillo is the band’s third studio album. Formed in Missoula, Montana, The Lil Smokies have built a national following through constant touring, performing at Red Rocks, LOCKN’, High Sierra, Telluride, Bourbon & Beyond and more.

Looking For More Great Bluegrass Music?

Check out the following articles for more great bluegrass music:

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Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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