bluegrass songs

Bluegrass songs

Looking for an introduction to bluegrass songs? Bluegrass music, often characterized by its string band ensemble and roots in American folk and country music, has given rise to countless cherished songs.

Popular bluegrass songs

Here are 20 of the most well-known and popular bluegrass tunes, along with the names of the artists who helped popularize them.

“Foggy Mountain Breakdown” – Flatt & Scruggs
“Man of Constant Sorrow” – Soggy Bottom Boys/Dan Tyminski
“Blue Moon of Kentucky” – Bill Monroe
“Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms” – Flatt & Scruggs
“Rocky Top” – Osborne Brothers
Long Journey Home” – The Stanley Brothers
“Uncle Pen” – Bill Monroe
“I’ll Fly Away” – Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch
“Fox on the Run” – The Country Gentlemen
“In the Pines” – Bill Monroe
“Old Home Place” – The Dillards
“Wagon Wheel” – Old Crow Medicine Show
“Footprints in the Snow” – Bill Monroe
“Nine Pound Hammer” – Tony Rice
“Gold Rush” – Tony Rice
“Jerusalem Ridge” – Kenny Baker
“Shady Grove” – Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
“Will The Circle Be Unbroken” – The Carter Family
“Wayfaring Stranger” – Various artists, traditional
“Little Maggie” – The Stanley Brothers

Bluegrass standards

Bluegrass standards are timeless classics in the genre that many players are expected to know, especially for impromptu sessions or “pickin’ parties”. Here are 20 songs that are considered bluegrass standards:

“Foggy Mountain Breakdown” – Earl Scruggs
“Blue Moon of Kentucky” – Bill Monroe
“Uncle Pen” – Bill Monroe
“Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” – Flatt & Scruggs
“Footprints In The Snow” – Bill Monroe
“New River Train” – The Monroe Brothers
“Bury Me Beneath The Willow” – The Carter Family
“Old Home Place” – The Dillards
“Salty Dog Blues” – The Morris Brothers
“Nine Pound Hammer” – Merle Travis
“Big Mon” – Bill Monroe
“I Saw the Light” – Hank Williams
“Will The Circle Be Unbroken” – The Carter Family
“Gold Rush” – Bill Monroe
“Cripple Creek” – Traditional, popularized by Earl Scruggs
“Little Maggie” – The Stanley Brothers
“Sitting On Top Of The World” – The Mississippi Sheiks, popularized in bluegrass by Bill Monroe
“Red Haired Boy” – Traditional, popularized in bluegrass by Bill Monroe
“Salt Creek” – Bill Monroe
“Wildwood Flower” – The Carter Family

This list includes traditional songs as well as songs that were composed by important bluegrass musicians and have become standards within the genre. These songs form the core repertoire of many bluegrass musicians.

Bluegrass hits

Here are some notable bluegrass songs and renditions:

“Dust Bowl Children” – Alison Krauss & Union Station
“Take The Journey” – Molly Tuttle
“Friend and a Friend” – Molly Tuttle
“I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow” – The Soggy Bottom Boys
“Something About A Train Sound” – Irene Kelley
“Ain’t No Ash Will Burn” – Della Mae
“Build Me Up From Bones” – Sarah Jarosz
“Midnight Train to Memphis” – The Steeldrivers
“Long Gone” – Pharis & Jason Romero
“Dear Sister” – Claire Lynch
“Tell the Ones I Love” – Steep Canyon Rangers
“Diamond Joe” – Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
“Kentucky Waltz” – Dale Ann Bradley
“High on a Mountain” – Del McCoury Band
“Pretty Polly” – Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
“Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine” – The Earls of Leicester
“The Traveling Kind” – Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
“Lawrenceburg” – Special Consensus
“Thunder Dan” – Sideline
“If I’d Have Wrote That Song” – Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers

These are a mix of newly written songs, modern covers of classics, and fresh interpretations of bluegrass standards, showcasing the ongoing evolution of the genre.

Bluegrass crossovers

“Crossover” tunes are an exciting facet of bluegrass music, allowing musicians to put a unique spin on songs from various genres. Here are 20 songs that have been successfully reimagined by bluegrass artists:

“Gentle on My Mind” – Originally by John Hartford, covered by many including Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs.
“Wagon Wheel” – Originally sketched by Bob Dylan, completed by Old Crow Medicine Show.
“The Boxer” – Originally by Simon & Garfunkel, bluegrass version by Jerry Douglas (feat. Mumford & Sons and Paul Simon).
“Amarillo by Morning” – Originally by George Strait, covered by the Old Salt Union.
“Hotel California” – Originally by The Eagles, covered by The Cat Empire (feat. The Bearded Gypsy Band).
“I Will Always Love You” – Originally by Dolly Parton, covered by many bluegrass bands, including the bluegrass group The Isaacs.
“The Sound of Silence” – Originally by Simon & Garfunkel, covered by many, including The Infamous Stringdusters.
“Blackberry Blossom” – Traditional song reimagined by many in bluegrass, including Sam Bush and Tony Rice.
“House of the Rising Sun” – Traditional song covered by many bluegrass bands, including Tony Rice.
“Yesterday” – Originally by The Beatles, covered by the Dillards.
“Rocket Man” – Originally by Elton John, covered by Iron Horse.
“Africa” – Originally by Toto, covered by Love Canon.
“Down With The Shine” – Originally by The Avett Brothers, covered by The Barefoot Movement.
“Imagine” – Originally by John Lennon, bluegrass version by Happy and Artie Traum.
“In My Time of Dying” – Traditional Gospel song covered by many bluegrass artists, including Tony Rice.
“Jolene” – Originally by Dolly Parton, covered by Rhonda Vincent.
“Ring of Fire” – Originally by Johnny Cash, covered by Earl Scruggs with Tom T. Hall.
“The Weight” – Originally by The Band, covered by The Stapleton Brothers.
“Landslide” – Originally by Fleetwood Mac, covered by The Dixie Chicks (and while they’re a country group, the song has also been covered in a bluegrass style by various artists).
“Comfortably Numb” – Originally by Pink Floyd, covered by Keller & The Keels.

Remember, these songs have been taken from a wide variety of genres like rock, pop, country, and folk, and have been interpreted by bluegrass artists to suit the unique instrumentation and style of bluegrass music.


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