Wayne Benson is one of bluegrass music’s leading mandolinists and has established himself as a unique and gifted stylist. From Concord, NC, an area rich in bluegrass heritage, Benson first arrived on the scene as a teenager when Scott Vestal invited him to join Livewire. After three years and one album on Rounder Records, Wayne joined the well-known and critically acclaimed IIIrd Tyme Out in December of 1992. After more than a decade with the Atlanta-based band, Wayne had solidified his niche among the most respected bluegrass mandolin players, being featured on the cover of Bluegrass Now, Mandolin Quarterly, and Bluegrass Unlimited, while also enjoying numerous IBMA awards and the SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year award, five consecutive years.
In 2004, Wayne joined the John Cowan Band, spending three years with the group and recording two albums, showcasing his instrumental prowess in the progressive genre, most widely called, New Grass. After a three-year stint with Cowan, Wayne reclaimed his long-time home with IIIrd Tyme Out in May of 2007.
In 2003, Wayne released his first solo project, An Instrumental Anthology. With 12 original compositions, Wayne explores styles ranging from straight-ahead bluegrass to more progressive melodies. Joining Wayne are some of the industry’s most awarded and finest musicians, including Jeff Autry, John Cowan, Aubrey Haynie, Rob Ickes, Mark Schatz, Ron Stewart, Jim Van Cleve, Scott Vestal, and others.
Also in 2003, Gibson joined forces with Benson to create the Wayne Benson Signature mandolin. Based on the F-5 scroll body design, the new model has a combination of distinctive cosmetic traits taken from Benson’s specifications. As part of Gibson’s Artist Signature Series, a total of 50 Benson mandolins will be available.
Wayne has an established relationship with Acutab Publications, releasing an instructional DVD in 2004 with over 2 hours of material, featuring facets of Wayne’s distinctive style and songs from his solo project. In addition to the DVD, Acutab offers an extensive tab book that includes Benson’s solos from the popular instrumental series on Pinecastle Records.
After living in Nashville for 16 years, Benson returned to the Carolinas, where he lives with his wife, Kristin, and son, Hogan. In addition to being a full-time member of IIIrd Tyme Out, he regularly records and freelances with many top, industry musicians.
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