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10 Americana Bands That Rocked Bonnaroo

Here is what the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. does best: it brings together emerging and well-known artists from all genres for a concert-packed 4-day music extravaganza. It’s not often that Elton John, Kanye West and Vampire Weekend perform on the same stage within hours of each other. Despite what haters may think, Bonnaroo isn’t all dance music and alternative bands. In fact, Bluegrass and Americana musicians made quite the showing this year. Here are 10 Americana bands to put on your radar.

  1. The Lonesome Trio – Featuring Ed Helms (from The Office and The Hangover), The Lonesome Trio has a classic Bluegrass sound with the lyrical sass of Andy Bernard.

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  2. The Lone Bellow - This trio has the rare talent of making you actually believe every lyric they’re singing. Their emotion is palpable with every chord. 

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  3. Della Mae - Comprised of five ladies whose sound is as unique as their talents, Della Mae is certainly a band to watch. Lead singer Celia Woodsmith’s vocals are deep and heartfelt.

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  4. The Black Lillies – Hailing from Knoxville, Tenn., The Black Lillies are new to the scene, but they’re already making waves with their upbeat sound. They’ve performed at The Grand Ole Opry and Music City Roots.

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  5. Sarah JaroszShe may be young, but Sarah Jarosz has a mature sound reminiscent of Alison Krauss. Her hit singles, “Over the Edge” and “Build Me Up from Bones,” have garnered lots of radio air time.

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  6. Yonder Mountain String Band - Already well-known amongst the Americana fan set, Yonder Mountain String Band is reinventing traditional Bluegrass. Their music is influenced by rock, bluegrass and old-timey string bands.

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  7. Carolina Chocolate Drops - They describe their sound as a mix of 1920s and ’30s jug-band music, string-band music and jazz with plenty of fiddle. The Carolina Chocolate Drops embody a joyful electricity that will make your foot tap involuntarily.

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  8. Willy Mason - It’s nearly impossible to listen to Willy Mason without hearing the Johnny Cash in his voice. The 29 year-old already has five albums and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

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  9. Greensky Bluegrass  - This five-man band from Michigan has a definite Bluegrass sound with a little bit of rock-and-roll. Their “rural ballads,” as coined by the band, have grit and soul.

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  10. The Avett Brothers – While certainly not new to the Bluegrass/Americana scene, The Avett Brothers deserve a spot on this list. By consistently releasing emotional, relatable albums, these North Carolina natives proved they have staying power.

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