When you talk about bluegrass legends in New England, you're talking about Joe Val (1926-1985). Born Joseph Valiante, he was a powerful force in the field, eventually forming the New England Bluegrass Band, which released seven albums from 1972 to 1983. He had previously played with a number of Boston's top musicians, along with several bluegrass groups, including the Charles River Valley Boys. The Charles River Valley Boys followed the the "British Invasion" releasing a 1966 bluegrass album of Beatle songs, which received major airplay in the region, prompting at least one prominent DJ to wonder where the Charles River Valley was and deciding it must be the Park Street Under subway station.
Val was diagnosed with lymphoma and a benefit to help with his medical expenses was held on June 9, 1985. He died two days later. The following year, the first Joe Val Day was held. It has now grown to the three-day Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, which was named the 'event of the Year " in 2006 by the International Bluegrass Music Association. My brother and my beautiful niece (one of three beautiful nieces because inner and outer beauty just rampages through the House family genes) just attended this years festival and (reportedly) there was a lot of squeeing going on.
Here's Val and the New England Bluegrass Band circa 1984: