Trevor Hall’s second CD from the esteemed independent label Vanguard finds the 24-year-old Southern California-based singer-songwriter performing an eclectic set of finely crafted, often heartfelt songs.
Everything Everytime Everywhere, to be released Aug. 23, moves from the gentle reggae rhythm and aching lyrics of “The Return” to the spirit-lifting pop-rock anthem “Brand New Day” to the ska-rock bounce of “Fire” to the poignant ballad “Te Amo.”
“I love it,” Hall said of his soon-to-released album. “It’s my favorite record thus far. I’m doing lots of different styles. And I’m just happy to get another record out there so people can hear some new music.”
In his lyrics as well as his music, Hall doesn’t limit himself.
“I’m all over the place,” he said. “But one theme is the spiritual journey, discoveries on the path. But, to be honest, a lot of the times I don’t really know what my songs are about. It’s not until later that I figure that, 'Oh, maybe it means something like that.’
“But it’s still definitely a spiritual theme. Music is a teacher. It’s a way to open up your heart. It’s a way to bring people together. It does all sorts of things. It’s magical.”
While roots reggae serves as a cornerstone in Hall’s musical foundation, he’d never proclaim himself a reggae artist.
“That’s just one of the musical styles and rhythms that caught me early on and I stuck with it,” he said.
Nevertheless, the influence of such classic reggae artists as Bob Marley, Burning Spear, the Abyssinians and Jimmy Cliff is clear. A tour with Cliff last summer, in fact, helped him complete “Different Hunger,” one of the songs on Everything Everytime Everywhere.
“It was an older song but not finished,” Hall said. “When I went out on the road with Jimmy, that helped me finish it, because it’s in his style.”
Of course, the 63-year-old Cliff is one of Hall’s reggae heroes. “He’s one of the legends,” Hall said.
Hall spent some time with Cliff, a 2010 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, during the tour.
“He’s a private cat,” Hall said. “He likes to keep to himself. But the times that I did get to talk to him he was really amazing and friendly.”
The tour also gave Hall and his group a prime spot for witnessing Cliff’s performances.
“We watched him from the side of the stage every night,” he said. “It was awesome. He’s in his 60s, maybe, but he’s moving more than I am and most other people I see. He puts a lot of energy into his show. Being around that energy every night really rubs off on you.”
Hall’s presently touring with Matisyahu, another artist who fuses diverse influences.
“Musically, we’re a little different but we both sing about the same themes,” Hall said. “And we’re good friends, so that helps when you’re on the road with someone.”
Showing diversity in his touring, Hall’s other road partners have included pop singer Colbie Caillat and, another eclectic artist, Michael Franti.
“It’s good to do different runs, get in front of different people,” Hall said.