“Plant the seed/Watch it sprout/Watch it grow/Watch it bloom/Get in tune” - “To Zion” For 20-year-old Trevor Hall, music is a meditation, an expression of love and a means to bring people together.
“I just tried to watch it flow through me and tried not to control it,” says the South Carolina- born singer-songwriter about the creative energy which went into writing the songs on his debut Geffen album. “The songs in turn become a tool, a map and a way to get to a universal place in my own personal journey.”
His reggae-inflected acoustic rock takes on a variety of musical forms and expressions - like ‘60s Brit-pop rhythms of “Sun and Moon” and the dance-hall beat of “31 Flavors” to the cascading lyrics in “Ghosts,” the hip-hop nursery rhymes of “Other Ways,” the acoustic jump blues of “Beautiful Lunatic” and the sing-song story-telling of the Dylanesque “Sunny Sky” and “Liquor Store.”
Produced by Paul McCartney drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and brother Mateo at Burbank’s Center Staging studio, Hall’s major label bow follows last year’s John Alagia-produced, four-song EP The Rascals Have Returned, a six-track live EP Trevor Hall Live recorded at the Mint and Hotel Café in Los Angeles and his 2004 indie debut, Lace Up Your Shoes, also produced by Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Jason Mraz).
Hall has been writing and performing since he was 14 years old. His parents were both tennis pros, though he learned about music from his father’s drum kit, a rhythmic orientation that continues on his debut album, which is filled with the percussive beats of reggae, hip-hop and rock as filtered through the Laboriel brothers.
“I have always been surrounded by and absorbed with music,” explains Hall, who continues to be inspired by such diverse artists as Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, as well as Ben Harper and Bjork. “I just started writing songs for myself. At no point did I think of doing this as a career. It’s still not like that for me. I’d be playing music even if I had a real job.”
With a fascination for Indian culture, most of the songs on the new album were inspired by his recent pilgrimage to India, where he visited a number of sacred temples and ashrams. “I felt like I was home for the first time in a long time, I had no idea how amazing it would be. It’s definitely gas for the car. And it all came out in the music.”
Hall calls “Sun and Moon” a song about “struggle, but also celebration,” while “31 Flavors” is an expression of love and patience, and “Ghosts” talks of realizing that real happiness comes from your own heart. “It’s a song about not going under, about maintaining your strength,” he explains, “to become a love soldier.”
Recalling Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” Hall’s “To Zion” is all about nurturing love like a seed, until it sprouts, grows, blooms and flowers into bliss.
“Beautiful Lunatic” juxtaposes imagery in its lyrics such as “traveling bodhisattvas transform madness into an opera.” “I’ve always liked the idea of taking bad things and transforming them into something positive,” explains Hall.
“Liquor Store” channels Dylan’s “I Want You” into a song “about diving into your own consciousness to the innermost depths of your soul and drowning yourself in that bliss,” says Hall. (“Some say I’m sick and some call me mad/They say I’ve lost all that I’ve had/True I am mad for the light, for the spark/That resides in the deepest depths of my heart”).
“Aftermath,” tells a story touching on reincarnation and killing the ego (“I looked upon this plastic place/Saved it with all of my grace”). “Stand Open” was a direct outgrowth of his passage to India, a song about a new vision, letting go of fear and touching on the idea that death must die. (“Tell ‘em all I went crazy/Oh baby He brought me into safety/Now that I’m open baby/My nightmares are underground/All of you people hiding and timing when the stars are aligning/Can you see the sun shining?/Tell me why are you fighting?)
Since leaving South Carolina for Southern California to study at the Idyllwild School for the Performing Arts, Hall has used his music as a means to follow his spiritual quest. “Being at Idyllwild opened me up to new cultures, new sounds and new possibilities,” he reminisces fondly.
Hall has toured extensively with Steel Pulse, Rusted Root, Keb Mo, Ziggy Marley, Stevie Nicks, Matisyahu and Colbie Caillat to name a few and has also opened for Jason Mraz, Donavon Frankenreiter and Ben Harper.
“What is awesome about the live shows is the collective experience of knowing that anything is possible and that anything can happen within that. If we’re all together in unity and if we’re all being lifted, all the better.”
Hall’s songs have appeared in numerous feature films and television shows. Most recently his song, “Other Ways,” on the new album, appeared on the Shrek the Third soundtrack and was heard in the film over the closing credits. He also covered the Band’s “Life is a Carnival” for the recent star-studded tribute album, Endless Highway: The Music of the Band.
In between recording and touring Trevor has always found time to give back. Trevor has been involved with benefits for the Rose Foundation, PSARTS, the Surfrider Foundation and the Rainforest Action Network to name a few. He even performed in front of Congress at the age of 16 as part of the Arts Advocacy Council along with Bob Weir and others to fight to keep arts in public schools. Most recently Trevor organized and performed at a benefit concert for the Yoga Vendata Kutir in India which takes in orphaned children and gives them a home.
“I don’t have any goals, but if someone asked me what mine was, I’d say it would be to do good, be good, be together and just be friendly, because it seems like something as simple as that is taken for granted these days,” says Hall.
With the release of his debut CD for Geffen, Trevor Hall is ready to take his music to the public. Says Hall, “The goal of my music is to reach as many people as possible.”
Listening to Trevor Hall’s major-label debut, you realize it’s not just about the music for this new artist, but something far deeper and more profound. As Hall sees it, “I’m just a seeker on a path and right now this is the right one for me.”
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- Artist Info
Nothing official yet. Check back here for official setlists.