Can a tribute to Bill Monroe work without a mandolin? 

Indeed it can. 

The Infamous Stringdusters’ – Dobro man Andy Hall, guitarist Andy Falco, fiddler Jeremy Garrett, banjoist Chris Pandolfi and bassist Travis Book – make the point early and often on A Tribute to Bill Monroe, which repurposes seven of the Father of Bluegrass’ numbers in a concise, 22-minute package that’s called an LP, but is in reality an EP. 

Semantics – and mandolins – aside, the ’Dusters conjure Monroe’s spirit immediately with a rip-snorting version of “My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling,” which runneth over with high lonesomes and rapid-fire picking. “Sitting Alone in the Moonlight” is its melancholy anthesis while the hard-charging instrumental “Old Dangerfield” finds the album peaking in the No. 5 slot. 

There’s not a dog in the lot, from the front porch sounds of “Dark as the Night” to the deep woods of “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake.” Best of all, the Infamous Stringdusters do a famous job of being authentic enough to not offend old-school denizens while remaining adventurous enough to appeal to their jamgrass fan base.