Track Premiere: Half Past Four from Tray Wellington

Mountain Home Music has a new single for North Carolina banjo man Tray Wellington this week, a grassified take on an old time favorite that should please fans of both styles.

Wellington has received a great deal of attention in bluegrass circles over recent years. A 2021 graduate of the bluegrass program at ETSU, he had begun playing professionally while still in high school as a founding member of Cane Mill Road. Having been named a recipient of the IBMA’s Momentum Award in 2019 for an emerging instrumentalist of note, Tray recorded a solo EP of banjo music the following year, Uncaged Thoughts.

His upcoming album with Mountain Home takes a similar tack, mixing his own original compositions with traditional standards, and this week’s single is of the second sort.

Half Past Four is a well-known old time fiddle tune, coming from the mind of Ed Haley, a blind fiddler from Kentucky who performed in the first half of the 20th century. Not many folks outside of Kentucky knew his music until he was championed by John Hartford, who not only recorded several of Haney’s tunes, but also transcribed many others and oversaw a collection of Ed’s home recordings.

Now Tray has put his own spin on the tune, supported by Wayne Benson on mandolin, Carley Arrowood on fiddle, John Stickley on guitar, and Kevin Kehrberg on bass. 

“As a John Hartford and Ed Haley fan, I knew when I heard this song, I wanted to put a modern, unique twist on it that would make it my own version. And with the musicianship of these players, from Carley’s powerful fiddle kickoff, to Stickley’s killer rhythm, to the groove of Kevin’s bass, and Wayne’s playing, it ended up being a great track.”

Here ’tis…

Half Past Four by Tray Wellington will be available on Friday, June 25, wherever you stream or download music online. Radio programmers can get the track now via AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.