Tray Wellington


Tray Wellington is breaking new ground in bluegrass banjo. He is widely recognized as one of the young lions on his instrument.

Tray fell in love with the banjo as a kid growing up in Ashe County North Carolina. He learned to play the classic Scruggs-style bluegrass banjo at local jams and cut his teeth as a touring musician with the IBMA Award winning band Cane Mill Road. Since leaving the band in 2019, he’s broadened his sound and is now as likely to play something by jazz legend John Coltrane as he is a Flatt and Scruggs tune.

He released his debut solo album “Black Banjo” in 2022 on the Asheville-based label Mountain Home Records. Bluegrass Today wrote that the record “…will keep you on your toes.” No Depression Magazine described it as “…a strategically blended range of music.”

“I’ve been really getting away from trying to sound like anybody, necessarily,” Tray told Bluegrass Situation in a 2021 interview. “That’s been my big thing. I want to be one of those musicians that tries to make my own voice on the instrument overall and gives my own ideas to it. A lot of that came from studying different players, like Béla Fleck and Scott Vestal and Noam Pikelny. Not just studying them, but studying the old school kind of stuff as well.”

Garden & Gun Magazine said of Tray’s album, “Taking cues from his musical and geographic forefathers, his take on banjo music blends progressive experimentation with traditional influences, making for a debt album that’s, well… fun. Wellington shows off his instrumental chops at every turn, fusing elements of jazz and bluegrass with occasional bursts of simple, singable lyrics.” Garden and Gun named “Black Banjo” one of 2022’s Top Southern Albums.

Tray is a two-time finalist for IBMA New Artist of the Year having been nominated in both 2022 and 2023.

Tray works for PineCone as its Communications Manager and continues a rigorous touring schedule with the Tray Wellington Band. He is a member of IBMA’s Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2023.