Blues Music Genre List

The most comprehensive list of Blues Music genres available on the Internet

The Music Genres List site covers many of the most popular styles of blues music, we hope this becomes the definitive list of blues music genres on the Internet, send an email to add @ musicgenreslist dot com if you feel any blues music genres are missing and we’ll add to complete the music list. Please see the complete list of Blue genres at the bottom of this page!

Lists of Blues songs and Blues bands/artists

Blues Music Genre Example Bands Example Songs
Acoustic Blues Robert JohnsonMississippi John Hurt “Cross Road Blues” by Robert Johnson, “Avalon Blues” by Mississippi John Hurt
African Blues Ali Farka TouréTinariwen “Ai Du” by Ali Farka Touré, “Sastanàqqàm” by Tinariwen
Blues Rock The Rolling StonesStevie Ray Vaughan “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones, “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
Blues Shouter Big Joe TurnerWynonie Harris “Shake, Rattle and Roll” by Big Joe Turner, “Good Rocking Tonight” by Wynonie Harris
British Blues John Mayall & the BluesbreakersFleetwood Mac “All Your Love” by John Mayall, “Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac
Canadian Blues Colin JamesJeff Healey “Five Long Years” by Colin James, “Angel Eyes” by Jeff Healey
Chicago Blues Muddy WatersHowlin’ Wolf “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters, “Smokestack Lightnin’” by Howlin’ Wolf
Classic Blues B.B. KingEtta James “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King, “At Last” by Etta James
Classic Female Blues Bessie SmithMa Rainey “Downhearted Blues” by Bessie Smith, “See See Rider” by Ma Rainey
Contemporary Blues Joe BonamassaGary Clark Jr. “Driving Towards The Daylight” by Joe Bonamassa, “Bright Lights” by Gary Clark Jr.
Contemporary R&B BeyoncéUsher “Halo” by Beyoncé, “U Got It Bad” by Usher
Country Blues Charley PattonSon House “Pony Blues” by Charley Patton, “Death Letter Blues” by Son House
Dark Blues Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Delta Blues Robert JohnsonSon House “Hellhound On My Trail” by Robert Johnson, “Grinnin’ in Your Face” by Son House
Detroit Blues John Lee HookerAlberta Adams “Boom Boom” by John Lee Hooker, “Say Baby Say” by Alberta Adams
Doom Blues Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath
Electric Blues Muddy WatersBuddy Guy “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters, “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” by Buddy Guy
Folk Blues Lead BellyOdetta “Midnight Special” by Lead Belly, “House of the Rising Sun” by Odetta
Gospel Blues Sister Rosetta TharpeMahalia Jackson “Up Above My Head” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “Move On Up a Little Higher” by Mahalia Jackson
Harmonica Blues Little WalterSonny Boy Williamson II “Juke” by Little Walter, “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” by Sonny Boy Williamson II
Hill Country Blues R.L. BurnsideJunior Kimbrough “Poor Black Mattie” by R.L. Burnside, “All Night Long” by Junior Kimbrough
Hokum Blues Tampa RedGeorgia Tom “It’s Tight Like That” by Tampa Red and Georgia Tom
Jazz Blues Louis ArmstrongElla Fitzgerald “Basin Street Blues” by Louis Armstrong, “Blues in the Night” by Ella Fitzgerald
Jump Blues Louis JordanBig Joe Turner “Caldonia” by Louis Jordan, “Flip Flop and Fly” by Big Joe Turner
Kansas City Blues Big Joe TurnerPete Johnson “Roll ‘Em Pete” by Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson
Louisiana Blues Slim Harpo, Tab Benoit “I’m a King Bee” by Slim Harpo, “Shelter Me” by Tab Benoit
Memphis Blues B.B. King, Memphis Minnie “Everyday I Have the Blues” by B.B. King, “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” by Memphis Minnie
Modern Blues Robert Cray, Keb’ Mo’ “Smoking Gun” by Robert Cray, “Am I Wrong” by Keb’ Mo’
New Orleans Blues Dr. John, Professor Longhair “Right Place Wrong Time” by Dr. John, “Tipitina” by Professor Longhair
NY Blues Popa Chubby, Shemekia Copeland “Sweet Goddess of Love and Beer” by Popa Chubby, “It’s 2 A.M.” by Shemekia Copeland
Piano Blues Ray Charles, Dr. John “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles, “Such a Night” by Dr. John



What comes to mind when you think about the blues? We use the English term ‘blue’ to mean sad, depressed, or upset about something. It’s only natural that blues music evokes these types of sensations, but this harmonic genre is also emotional in a myriad of other ways.

No matter what you imagine when you think of the blues, it’s sure to be meaningful, and there’s a great reason why that’s true. The blues, as a genre, has a deep and unapologetic past, touching people in every stage of life.

Blues lyrics tend to touch on adversity and intimately personal situations. It’s about more than just self-pity or reminiscing. It’s music that signifies overcoming bad luck, telling people how you feel, letting loose, and having fun.

America was given the blues music genre in the nineteenth century by African Americans, a people group who had been victims of slavery and if they were now free, they were the descendants of slaves with many rich stories to tell of their ancestors.

The appearance of the blues in the late nineteenth century coincided with the transition from slavery to sharecropping in many parts of the country. The change from spirituals performed by groups to individuals performing the blues mirrored the newly acquired freedom of the African-American people. It was shaped by their desire to develop an identity of their own, apart from the way white people and other slave owners had viewed them up until that point.

The general perception is that this type of music evolved with deep roots in chants, spirituals, work songs, hymns, and drum music. Many people mistake jazz for the blues or confuse the genres, but they are poles apart.



Sub-Genre Bands/Artists Links to Bands/Artists Links to Songs
Punk Blues The Kills The Kills Burn My Body
Alabama 3 Alabama 3 Woke Up This Morning
Ragtime Blues Robert Wilkins That’s No Way to Get Along
William Moore Ragtime Millionaire
Rhythm Blues Ray Charles Ray Charles Hit the Road Jack
Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin Respect
Soul Blues Etta James I’d Rather Go Blind
Albert King Born Under a Bad Sign
St. Louis Blues W.C. Handy St. Louis Blues
B.B. King B.B. King Every Day I Have the Blues
Swamp Blues Tony Joe White Rainy Night in Georgia
Tony Joe White Polk Salad Annie
Texas Blues Stevie Ray Vaughan Stevie Ray Vaughan Pride and Joy
Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood
Urban Blues B.B. King Sweet Little Angel
Muddy Waters Muddy Waters I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
Vaudeville Blues Mamie Smith Crazy Blues
Bessie Smith Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
West Coast Blues Jimmy Witherspoon Tin Pan Alley
T-Bone Walker Call It Stormy Monday
Zydeco Beausoleil Beausoleil Zydeco Gris Gris
Rockin’ Sidney My Toot Toot



A call-and-response pattern characterizes the genre. Blues scales and chord progressions are distinct. Twelve-bar progression is the most common.

Sad notes are characterized by thirds, fifths, and sevenths, and are essential to the sound. The distinct rhythm comes from a walking bass or shuffle, and it reinforces the groove with the repetitive nature of the music.

The first blues sheet music was published in 1908, but it originated much earlier. It was partly due to the racial discrimination of U.S. society and the widespread illiteracy of the African American people.

The blues finally made it onto paper in 1908 and into the recording studio soon after. Before these events, there were reports of blues performed in the South around the turn of the twentieth century.

The blues were not as prevalent as in the Deep South until much later. In the 1930s and 1940s, the blues began its westward and northward journey across the nation. It evolved as it moved through different parts of the country.

In Chicago and many other urban areas, it was electrified. The lines began to blur into blues and jazz hybrids, giving way to rock and roll, and eventually to rhythm and blues.

Nobody invented the blues. It evolved with time, historical events, people, culture, and location. Origination claims are ubiquitous, but these individuals merely perfected a version of what they thought the blues should represent.

Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Patton, and Leadbelly were pioneers of the blues in the Deep South, but as it spread, artists from other genres began to make their mark on the music as well.

Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker started the electric blues movement, while Louis Jordan mixed swing music with the blues to create something fun and danceable. Other names that younger generations will recognize are Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and Bob Dylan.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the blues enter mainstream popular music with performances by white artists like the Beatles and Elvis Presley. The 1980s also saw a resurgence of interest in blues music.

Today, the blues is just as strange, rich, and powerful as ever. A new generation of people may not be as interested in it as they once were. If they listen closely, though, they’ll find its indelible roots in the music they love today.


Blues Genres

  • Acoustic Blues
  • African Blues
  • Blues Rock
  • Blues Shouter
  • British Blues
  • Canadian Blues
  • Chicago Blues
  • Classic Blues
  • Classic Female Blues
  • Contemporary Blues
  • Contemporary R&B
  • Country Blues
  • Dark Blues (thx Stephen)
  • Delta Blues
  • Detroit Blues
  • Doom Blues (cheers Stephen)
  • Electric Blues
  • Folk Blues
  • Gospel Blues
  • Harmonica Blues
  • Hill Country Blues
  • Hokum Blues
  • Jazz Blues
  • Jump Blues
  • Kansas City Blues
  • Louisiana Blues
  • Memphis Blues
  • Modern Blues
  • New Orlean Blues
  • NY Blues
  • Piano Blues
  • Piedmont Blues
  • Punk Blues
  • Ragtime Blues (cheers GFS)
  • Rhythm Blues
  • Soul Blues
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Soul Blues
  • Swamp Blues
  • Texas Blues
  • Urban Blues
  • Vandeville
  • West Coast Blues
  • Zydeco (thx Naomi McElynn – also under ‘World’ genre)