30 artists, 1678 songs
Bill Monroe pioneered a fast, driving style of acoustic country music known as bluegrass during the late 1930s. Whereas most hillbilly, folk and country music preceding bluegrass was relatively simple, Monroe, an expert mandolin player, emphasized instrumental virtuosity and sophisticated vocal harmonies. Guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs created dazzling instrumental showcases for their impressive musicianship, while the Stanley Brothers gained acclaim for their vocal harmonies. Progressive artists like the Country Gentlemen and Dillard and Clark expanded bluegrass's repertoire by performing music inspired by rock and folk.