Brenda Reviews Trey Wellington: Black Banjo

Trey Wellington:  Black Banjo

Song List:  Crooked Mine, Port of Manzanita, Strasbourg/St. Denis, Wasted Time, Half Past Four, Saw a Little Boat, Unknown Days Waltz, Georgia Turnaround, Naima, Pond Mountain Breakaway, Nightfall Rendezvous.

Trey Wellington has exhibited a varied musical journey in a short few years.  He has been honored by an IBMA Momentum Award, appeared on stages and in publications, started his own band, and this CD is his own collection of original and jazz influenced songs.

Mountain Home Music Company producer Jon Weisberger gathered a stellar group of musicians to accompany Trey:  guitarist Jon Stickley, mandolinist Wayne Benson, bassist Kevin Kehrberg, and a trio of fiddle players, Carley Arrowood, Avery Merritt, and Lyndsay Pruett.

The two jazz cover songs display a full range of instrumentation with Trey’s banjo providing a lead melody line with the other instruments following in turn.  “Strasbourg/St. Denis” opens with bass solo followed with a mixed banjo and guitar interplay.  The fiddles provide a sustain that echoes Roy Hargrove’s horn interludes.  John Coltrane’s “Naima” has Trey’s poem overlaid on the opening sequence followed by fiddle and banjo moving in tandem.  Tim O’Brien and Trey sing “Wasted Time” with a bouncy swing rhythm backdrop as they meander through the haze of alcohol.  “Saw a Little Boat” is the other vocal, and Trey confidently sings of boats and bayous.  The “Unknown Days” Waltz with its slow melodic pace is contrasted with the fast paced banjo and train tracking in “Georgia Turnaround.”  The opening song, “Crooked Mind” is filled with instrumental trade-offs that showcase banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin.  Trey Wellington’s banjo playing is inventive and melodic, and while he also has the distinction of being a Black banjoist, his musical sense and composing skills will be foremost.