Modern Artists and Bands Who Use the Banjo

Listen carefully, you’ll start to hear more tracks that feature a banjo

The banjo is making a comeback! Many modern artists and bands play the banjo in their hit songs.

The banjo is commonly associated with Dixieland jazz, bluegrass, and folk music, but it’s been used in other genres, including pop and rock, for many years. From Led Zeppelin’s “Gallows Pole” and The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” to more recent songs, the banjo has been hitting the airwaves.

These are some of the modern artists and bands who use the banjo:

Taylor Swift. The country/pop star plays the banjo in her Grammy Award Winning song, “Mean”. She can be seen playing her Deering Boston 6-string Acoustic/Electric Banjo in the “Mean” music video. Since the 6-string banjo is tuned like a guitar it was a likely choice for Swift to achieve the tone and feel that a banjo adds to a song without straying too far from her guitar roots. There’s also the catchy tune “Jump Then Fall,” which appeared on her re-release of the album “Fearless.” The plucky banjo sound fits well with the song’s upbeat, optimistic lyrics about falling head over heels in love.

Mumford and Sons. The British folk-rock band includes the banjo in their hit songs “I Will Wait”Lover of the Light”, “Little Lion Man” and “Awake My Soul”. Winston Marshall, the banjoist and leading guitarist of the Grammy-Award winning band even has a banjo named after him, the Deering Winston Marshall Signature Model.

Avett Brothers. This influential folk-rock band incorporates the banjo on their songs: “Live and Die”, “Laundry Room”, and “January Wedding”. Scott Avett, one of the bands founding members primarily plays the 5-string banjo. Scott Avett has played the Deering Sierra Mahogany, Vega Senator, and Tenbrooks Legacy.

Elle King. An American singer-songwriter, with a musical style encompassing soul, rock, and blues. Elle played the classic Goodtime 2 for years before she upgraded to her Eagle II Acoustic/electric and then her Custom Black and Gold “Goldie” Eagle II that she plays now. Hear her talk about her realization that banjo is more than just a country or bluegrass instrument here.

Rascal Flatts. This country pop/rock band devoted an entire song to the banjo, instead of just using it to play music on. “Banjo” was the band’s first single from their 2012 album “Changed.”

Matchbox Twenty. This alternative rock band included the banjo in their hit song “Unwell.” The 2003 song about loneliness was one of the most-played songs of that year in the US, and the video for it reached number one on VH1’s Top 40 Videos of 2003.

Nelly Furtado. Banjos and soccer don’t normally go together, but pop star Furtado managed to combine them with her hit song “Forca.” The song, which is from her album “Folklore,” features the banjoist Bela Fleck and ended up being used as the 2004 European Football Championship anthem.

In addition to these modern artists and bands who use the banjo, the metal genre has also been experimenting with this versatile instrument. For example, Steve’n’Seagulls has managed to replace electric guitars with the banjo on classic metal songs, including “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, “Holy Diver” by Dio, and “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden.

These examples illustrate how musicians can use the banjo in a wide range of genres. Once you’ve learned how to play it, you’ll be able to come up with your own take on this instrument, too.

Last updated: September 25, 2020

Not sure where to begin? We covered the basics in this short guide to buying your first banjo. Still not sure? Send us a note or give us a call and we'll help you make the best decision.

Free Download

I would recommend them to anyone and everyone

Fantastic banjos sold by fantastic people. I have bought two banjos from and about to buy my third from them. These guys are just great people to go business with; knowledge, banjo players themselves, and just super nice. I do business with them because they are not just looking to sell my any banjo. They provide great input based upon what I want and need; not just what cost the most. I would recommend them to anyone and everyone interested in getting a banjo.

Eric Reese

Highly recommend them to others

Barry at helped me make a great choice on purchasing a new banjo. He answered my emails and phone calls promptly. After a few conversations I went with his newly designed Bish Line Coal Dust. I ordered it and he kept me updated on its progress. It arrived in perfect condition and it's even nicer than he described. I will keep at the top of my list for any future purchases and would highly recommend them to others. Thank you again to Barry and his staff.

Tim Coyne

I couldn't be more pleased with this lovely instrument and the customer service

I recently purchased a Deering Sierra mahogany open back banjo from Since I live in north Georgia, only two and one-half hours from the home of, I was able to visit the Banjo Barn where Barry give me the opportunity to "test drive" several banjos and he assisted me in narrowing down to my final choice. I must say, I couldn't be more pleased with this lovely instrument and the customer service I received from Barry and Thank you!

Sam Gullion

Barry Waldrep

The owner of is professional musician Barry Waldrep. Barry has toured professionally for the past 30 years. Raised on traditional Bluegrass, and a forerunner on the Jam Band circuit. He has toured and recorded with many artists such as The Zac Brown Band, Randy Travis, Joey & Rory and also has performed with bluegrass greats like John Cowan, Tony Trischka, Scott Vestal & Tony Rice. Read more.

Have a question about an instrument?

    Ex: Order number, Banjo model, etc.