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Tray Wellington - Friend of the DFC

tray wellington banjoMulti-instrumentalist, songwriter and bluegrass banjoist, Tray Wellington got into music when he was young, listening to his grandpa play. Then, around fourteen years old, he began playing electric guitar. “I was originally interested in learning rock guitar from listening to a lot of classic rock albums but then transitioned to also wanting to play bluegrass flatpicking in the style of Doc Watson. I heard banjo for the first time in middle school and instantly fell in love with the sound. From there I studied traditional bluegrass music and eventually started to branch out to more eclectic music forms and exploring new styles.”

Tray was heavily influenced by music ranging from bluegrass to rap and musicians like Béla Fleck, Roy Hargrove, Cory Henry, Childish Gambino, Kid Cudi and John Coltrane. Today he still listens to those artists and listens to progressive bluegrass, jazz and blues. 

Still in his early twenties, Tray has already received a number of awards and accolades, including two awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) — 2019 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year and 2019 Momentum Band of the Year (with Cane Mill Road).

He released his first solo record Uncaged Thoughts (produced by banjo great Scott Vestal) in 2019, then started his own band. They have toured and played festivals all over the country. Tray says he “loves the connection between the crowd especially when they are into it. I personally would rather play for a hundred really excited people, then a thousand people that aren’t interested.” 

tray wellington black banjoTray is also an experienced banjo teacher and has taught at music camps like Midwest Banjo Camp and Béla Fleck’s Blue Ridge Banjo Camp. He says that he likes teaching “because I personally know the benefit of a great teacher as I had multiple and love to share my ideas on playing with others so they don’t ever put themselves in a box musically.”

Visit Tray’s website where you can listen to and buy his latest album Black Banjo and see his upcoming tour dates, including March 3rd at the WinterWonderGrass Festival in Steamboat Springs.