PineCone is bringing live bluegrass music back to downtown Raleigh’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and local NC native, IBMA award winner and banjo virtuoso Tray Wellington will help kick off the return of the Down Home Concert Series this Friday, May 7 at 1pm in Moore Square. Residents are invited to come meet Tray and enjoy the sights and sounds of his dazzling banjo. Raleigh’s Mayor, Mary-Ann Baldwin will also be in attendance to help kickoff the event.
“Raleigh is known for its diverse and vibrant arts and entertainment scene, and we couldn’t be more excited to have live bluegrass music safely back in-person again in Downtown Raleigh,” said Mayor Baldwin.
The Tray Wellington Band will also open for two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year The Gibson Brothers later on that same evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Duke Energy Center. More show information and tickets are available at PineCone’s website (pinecone.org).
After more than a year with only virtual events, the Duke Energy Center has been hard at work preparing for the return of in-person events. “Live music is back, and we’re thrilled that PineCone has so many talented local artists in this series,” said Michelle Bradley, Duke Energy Center’s Assistant General Manager. Additional safety measures will be in place including reduced capacity, temperature screening, and touchless ticket scanning, and face coverings will be required for all guests.
PineCone’s Down Home Concerts showcase artists from around the state, nation, and globe whose music finds connection and expression here. These concerts celebrate how music crosses cultures and borders while also acknowledging North Carolina’s unique cultural heritage.
“Nothing can compare to attending a live event, and we’re overjoyed to finally be able to invite our patrons back for in-person concerts at the Duke Energy Center,” said David Brower, PineCone’s Executive Director.
The full 2021 Down Home Concerts lineup includes:
- Friday, May 7: The Gibson Brothers with Tray Wellington Band
- Friday, May 14: Balsam Range
- Thursday, May 20: The Bluegrass Experience – 50th Anniversary featuring Tommy Edwards, Snuffy Smith and Fiddlin’ Al McCanless
- Thursday, June 10: Fireside Collective with Graham Sharp
- Thursday, June 17: Amythyst Kiah with Alexa Rose
- Friday, July 9: Molly Tuttle
All concerts in the series begin at 7:30 p.m. in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and tickets can be purchased from PineCone’s box office (919-664-8333), online via Ticketmaster.com or DukeEnergyCenterRaleigh.com.
Photo credit: Rob Laughter
About Tray Wellington
Trajan “Tray” Wellington is a banjo virtuoso, IBMA Award winner, and 2019 Momentum Instrumentalist of the year who leads the Tray Wellington Band. This group pushes the bounds of bluegrass music, incorporating Bossa Nova, jazz, and blues elements into their originals to create a unique, new exciting sound, as well as pay tribute to their bluegrass heroes before them.
Growing up on Flint Hill Rd., Tray’s love for music bloomed at an early age while he listened to his grandpa play diverse styles of music. While he played trombone in his middle school band, he didn’t start playing stringed instruments until he received his first electric guitar at age 13. Soon, he became interested in learning how to flat pick guitar, which led him to hear the banjo for the first time. His interest piqued, he began practicing, and his playing and musicianship have since flourished. From learning traditional bluegrass to studying diverse genres such as jazz, progressive bluegrass, blues, rock, and more, Tray has gone on to play with some of the most accomplished musicians in the world. Before reaching the age of 21, he has received a number of awards and accolades, including two awards from IBMA — 2019 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year and 2019 Momentum Band of the Year (with Cane Mill Road). Tray’s playing has drawn the attention of many greats in the business who have helped to bring out the best of Tray’s musicianship, and who have encouraged him to continue growing to become one of the best players in the industry.
PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, is the largest, most active presenter of home-grown music in the state. By offering more than 200 programs each year, PineCone supports the livelihoods of working artists, inspires and connects fans, educates youth and adult audiences, documents traditions, and provides opportunities for musicians to learn from one another. These programs include concerts, youth programs, participatory jams and sessions, workshops, documentary projects, a weekly radio show and more. Since 2013, PineCone has served as the official Local Host organization for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and its World of Bluegrass conference, and as the producers of the two-day IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. PineCone works to increase the visibility of Piedmont music and musicians and to provide public programs and educational resources about the depth and breadth of cultural expression in the region today. Each of the three elements – preservation, presentation, and promotion – plays an important role in ensuring the continued vitality and viability of traditional arts in North Carolina’s Piedmont
Set amongst the backdrop of our Capitol, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts has stood as a historic and cultural focal point in Downtown Raleigh since 1932. It has played host to Broadway classics, rock legends and major political figures while maintaining an emphasis on education of the arts and artists housed within Raleigh’s community. With four separate event spaces available, the breadth and depth of events past, present and future has made this Raleigh’s Premier Arts Venue.