Album Review: The Infamous Stringdusters, ‘ A Tribute to Bill Monroe’

The Infamous Stringdusters make the father of Bluegrass proud on their carefree frolic through some of the favorite Bill Monroe songs. With nary a lick of mandolin, the Dusters caper to the unspooling runs of winsome dobros, frisky fiddles, and gamboling guitars, inviting us to cavort across the bluegrass meadows with them as they careen around the familiar corners of Monroe’s music.

The album kicks off in high spirts with bouncy banjo rolls flitting around and under frolicsome fiddle scrapes, dancing dobro runs, and glittering guitar arpeggios on “My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling,” a lover’s declaration and plea for the promise of his lover’s faithfulness. On “Dark as Night” lilting fiddles and crying dobro mimic the high lonesome ache of the lover whose blue since his lover went away. Reeling fiddles open the slow-burning “Sitting Alone in the Moonlight,” a slow waltz whose vocals stretch out to convey the pain of an unraveling relationship, while the scampering “Toy Heart” skitters along spryly in a rollicking ramble. Each musician takes a turn on the swirling instrumental “Old Dangerfield,” and the band shuffles along on “Travelin’ Down This Lonesome Road.” What would a Bill Monroe tribute album be without a mournful tale of death-come-too-soon, and here the Dusters deliver the sad story of “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” with just the right amount of exquisite pain and regretful loss.

Always innovators, like Monroe himself, the Dusters—Andy Hall on dobro, Andy Falco on guitar, Travis Book on bass, Jeremy Garrett on fiddle, Chris Pandolfi on banjo—steer the songs on A Tribute to Bill Monroe with fearless abandon and deep affection, delivering a joyous homage to Mr. Monroe.

A Tribute to Bill Monroe is available HERE.



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