She grew up in southeastern Kentucky and has lived in the Bluegrass State for most of her life; her father was a coal miner and Baptist minister. Bradley auditioned unsuccessfully for the New Coon Creek Girls in 1988 and then spent the next couple of years working as a solo artist in Renfro Valley. She finally joined New Coon Creek in 1991 and performed on the group's 1994 Pinecastle Records debut, The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore. Bradley's first solo album, East Kentucky Morning, came out in 1997 and largely consisted of compositions by Dale Ann Bradley and New Coon Creek ally Vicki Simmons. The project also featured a celebrated take on U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," which helped the album go Top Ten on both the Gavin Americana and Bluegrass Unlimited charts and earn high critical praise.
When the final New Coon Creek Girls album appeared in 1998, "featuring Dale Ann Bradley" was added to the group's name. Shortly after, the outfit would become Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek. Bradley's sophomore release, 1999's Old Southern Porches, featured a cover of Stealers Wheel's 1973 hit "Stuck in the Middle with You." Members of Coon Creek, who by this time featured male players, performed on the album. Bradley put out the solo effort Songs of Praise and Glory in 2001; that same year, signing to Doobie Shea Records, Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek released Cumberland River Dreams.
In 2004, Bradley released the gospel-themed album Send the Angels via Mountain Home Records. Bradley next signed with the independent label Compass Records, which would bring out her next three albums -- 2006's Catch Tomorrow, 2009's Don't Turn Your Back, and 2011's Somewhere South of Crazy. In 2007, Bradley was named Female Bluegrass Vocalist of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association's annual awards; she would go on to win the award four more times, in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Bradley struck a new recording deal in 2015 with the respected bluegrass label Pinecastle Records. Pinecastle would release Pocket Full of Keys in 2015, which went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Bluegrass Album. In 2017, she returned with an album simply titled Dale Ann Bradley. ~ Erik Hage, Rovi