Trevor Hall realized at a very young age that music was more than just a passion. As an eleven year old, playing harmonica beside his father in the cradle of the weeping willows of South Carolina, music quickly became his most intimate companion, guide and creative outlet. In his elementary years, he began to write his own songs and perform them locally. At sixteen he recorded his first record, and the following year he left South Carolina to study classical guitar at Idyllwild Arts Academy, an international boarding school east of Los Angeles. There, Trevor was introduced to yoga and certain spiritual practices found in India, which greatly influenced his music and his life journey. During his senior year, Trevor signed a record deal with Geffen Records and his career as a musician formally began.
Trevor quickly broke through the music scene, with such early accomplishments in his career as having a song recorded on the Shrek the Third soundtrack, as well as joining a series of sold-out tours with artists such as Steel Pulse, The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Matisyahu, Michael Franti and Colbie Callait. Trevor’s quick rise on the scene, however, was ripe with challenges that conflicted with his spiritual life and devotional practice. In order to parallel his life’s path with the messages in his music, Trevor moved into a traditional Hindu ashram in Southern California in 2008. When not on tour, he lived as a monk and devoted his days to spiritual practice and service. His involvement with the temple affected his music and his music quickly became his practice.
Trevor Hall’s music – an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, reggae and Sanskrit chanting – echo with the names and teachings of divinities, while maintaining an incredibly and refreshingly universal message. While on the road, Trevor sees the stage as his moving temple, a place where he can share in the experience of his spiritual journey with his audience. Trevor’s annual trips to India also continue to serve as a source of creativity and motivation for his music. The precious lessons and experiences that he has harvested from his journeys East have moved Trevor to return a service to those whom have colored his music and his life so beautifully. Trevor uses donations collected at his live shows to help support an ashram in Allahabad, India, the home of his Guru, where underprivileged and orphaned boys and girls are given the chance at a better life and a traditional Vedic education.
Trevor’s self-titled debut album debuted on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart at #7 in 2009, he was named one of the Top 20 New Artists by Music Connection magazine, in 2010 MTV named him one of the twenty emerging artists for 2010, and in 2012 CBS used his hit “Brand New Day” for the promo of their CBS This Morning show. His most recent album, Everything, Everytime, Everywhere, reached 80th on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 2013 at the age of 26, after touring consistently for ten years, Trevor decided to take a break from the stage and go on an extended pilgrimage to India. There he spent many weeks studying under a classical Baul musician born and trained in the villages of Bengal. Trevor returned from his trip and retreated deep into the green mountains of Vermont and Maine where he spilled all that he had learnt onto the page and into song. His next album is set to be released soon.
w/ Cas Haley
Cas Haley stood surrounded by his band in a rough circle in the studio. No one wore headphones or sat in an isolation booth. Instead they played music, and listened to each other. They cut songs in single takes. They didn’t focus on making things perfect, but instead focused on finding the soul of each song. The result is the Texas-based singer-songwriter’s astounding new album La Si Dah (Easy Star Records, 2013).
Cas had been on the road much of the time in the three years since the release of his last album, Connection, playing some 150 shows a year in just about every U.S. state as well as overseas and releasing a holiday EP (Gifts to Give). Now that he was back in the studio, as he explains, “I wanted to capture a moment. If I died tomorrow, and my kids had only one musical statement through which to know me, what would I want that record to be?” His answer: “I wanted them to feel their father in this music. I wanted it to be a recording that really is alive and I’m really present in; a true, pure, honest take of what happened.”
Cas’s friend and mentor, producer/engineer Rob Fraboni, provided invaluable coaching towards achieving this vision. Besides his work with music royalty like Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Wayne Shorter, Hubert Sumlin, and Melissa Etheridge, Fraboni did the original CD remastering of Bob Marley’s entire catalog in 1989, so he’s reggae royalty himself, and he’d taken an interest in Cas even prior to Connection. “I was immediately taken with him as a person,” Fraboni says. “Then I heard him sing! Lord, what a voice, and better yet, an ability to use that voice to really move the listener. I was immediately smitten.”
The young artist self-produced La Si Dah with Fraboni’s guidance on details that most of us don’t think about, but that mean everything to the songs, like what mics to use and where to place them (surprisingly far from the instruments). Cas sums it up simply: “Fraboni is from the day when capturing the sound and emotion of the performance was the goal.” In the end, turbocharged by Cas’s compelling talent and superbly rehearsed band, the La Si Dah sessions captured both the clarity of sound of a studio production and the soulful flavor of a live recording. Asked whether the unorthodox recording process paid off, Fraboni confirms it: “Absolutely. The atmosphere of the sound suits the emotion of his singing – fresh and alive! I’d call that a payoff.”
From his early days with his musician parents, surrounded by the sounds of blues, ‘60s-‘70s rock, and Bob Marley, through his immersion in ska/punk/skateboard culture and the classic reggae-pop of bands like UB40 and Sublime, Cas went on to a second-place finish on America’s Got Talent and some hard-knock lessons about the music business. Through it all –his years of touring, and now in the fourth year of his fruitful collaboration with Easy Star Records – Cas has never lost sight of music’s core message of communication among people and nations. But on La Si Dah he and his band take it in an eye-opening variety of musical directions. The straight-up reggae of songs like “Mama,” “Slow Down,” and “Crazy Good Woman” yields to soulful balladry (“Let Her Go”) and funky-jump blues (a smoking cover of the classic “I’ve Got My Mojo Working”), and three instrumentals, including the jazzy “Trash Day,” the Meters-meets-reggae of “Jackson,” and the Surf-inflected “Capricorn.” Says Cas, “I’ve always loved music that didn’t have lyrics. An album’s got to have a break from the stories to let your mind wander and let the music tell its own story.”
Musical branching out has been a part of Cas’s spirit all along. “My musical tastes have always been very wide, I love all kinds,” he says, “but what evolved is the way I feel about it, what it means to me, and the value that we all put on the moment of playing the music versus the outcome.” Lyrically Cas’s songs feel as authentic as ever but with the added depth of maturity and reflection: “I feel like I’ve definitely gotten to a place where I’ve accepted who I am.”
More and more fans are appreciating who he is, as he continues on the road playing solo acoustic shows, many at colleges, where audiences have embraced him, leading to many more bookings for the coming year. While all this experience has deepened his connection with his expanding songbook and proven that he doesn’t need a band behind him to move a crowd, his schedule also features club shows and festivals where he is excited to be teaming with his band members to perform much of the La Si Dah album. It’s all about giving his all to spread the joy of music – because no one should live in an isolation booth.
7pm doors, 8pm show. $15 ADV, $18 day of show. ALL AGES. Standing room only.