Daily Southtown Local News

Winter tour brings Tray Wellington Band to Thornton for a Trail Mix Productions concert

Tray Wellington Band’s winter tour makes a stop in Thornton less than two weeks before the group releases its latest single.

The Feb. 10 Trail Mix Acoustic Concert Series show at Distiller’s Hall marks Homewood-based Trail Mix Productions’ inaugural partnership with Thornton Distilling Co. The opener is M.G. Bailey, a one-man band from Homewood.

“Even though we do acoustic music, we’re always trying to take things outside the genre,” said Trajan “Tray” Wellington, banjo player and vocalist for Tray Wellington Band.

“It seems like what (Trail Mix are) interested in is cutting-edge music. I think we’re a cutting-edge band in that way.

“We’re going to have some new music that we just recorded. It’s going to be really good.”

Wellington of Raleigh, North Carolina, has toured with guitarist and vocalist Nick Weitzenfeld of Roanoke, Virginia, and mandolin and fiddle player Josiah Nelson of Bristol, Virginia, for approximately two years while bassist and vocalist Max Schwartz of Los Angeles just joined the group.

“They’re great. They’re my favorite musicians to work with. They’re really awesome to work with and really creative and really help me,” said Wellington, who won the 2019 International Bluegrass Music Association Momentum Award for instrumentalist of the year for banjo.

He was nominated for 2023 International Bluegrass Music Association’s New Artist of the Year award and shared history lessons about the banjo on the Hulu series “Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi” and the CNN series “United Shades of America” starring W. Kamau Bell.

“I first started playing banjo when I was 13. I just started through the Mountain Music Club through middle school. I had a teacher that played banjo and I was playing guitar. I was playing electric originally in the style of Doc Watson,” said Wellington, who grew up in North Carolina’s Ashe County.

“I joined the Mountain Music Club and I heard banjo for the first time. I started performing when I was probably 16 with a band called Cane Mill Road. I was in that band for like five years. I went solo after that.”

After his solo debut, the “Uncaged Thoughts” EP, dropped in 2020 Wellington was looking to release another album when Jon Weisberger, one of his teachers at East Tennessee State University, connected him with Mountain Home Music Co.

Wellington, who signed with Mountain Home in late 2020, released the 11-song “Black Banjo” album featuring originals and covers in 2022.

“The whole idea of feeling included basically inspired that album,” he said.

Tray Wellington Band released two singles – a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” and an original tune titled “Moon in Motion 1” – through Mountain Home in 2023.

The group’s latest single, “Lift Up Every Stone,” is slated for release on Feb. 23.

“It’s a really impactful track that tells a story of standing up for what you believe in,” said Wellington, who has performed at the Hideout in Chicago and FitzGerald’s in Berwyn.

“It’s really strong in the way of instrumentally and vocally. I think it’s a really good performance.”

A full album by the group, which is billed as a high-energy progressive bluegrass band, is expected to drop in spring.

Tray Wellington Band

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 10

Where: Distiller’s Hall at Thornton Distilling Co., 400 E. Margaret St., Thornton

Tickets: $17.50

Information: 708-297-0102; trailmixmusic.org

Jessi Virtusio is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

Jessi Virtusio , 2024-02-04 13:47:57

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