Singer-songwriter Trevor Hall specializes in a variety of genres: rock, roots, folk, reggae. He brings this unique blend and one-of-a-kind sound to Crystal Bay Casino's Crown Room on Sunday, May 27, for a 21+ gig that any fan of laid-back, island vibe music will not want to miss.
Hall, known for songs like "The Lime Tree" and "Other Ways," is no stranger to the Tahoe Basin — he's performed at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in Stateline a few times, and has previously taken the stage in Crystal Bay.
Prior to his return to North Shore, we caught up with Hall and discussed everything from his influences and new album to his favorite methods of recreation.
Lake Tahoe Action: What are you looking forward to about returning?
Hall: Just being in the space, being in the energy of that area — the lake, the mountains — hopefully we'll have some time to maybe get out on the lake.
Tahoe is known for recreation. What aspect do you enjoy?
I love to swim in natural things, whether it's a waterfall or lake or river. I love getting in the water. It's as simple as just going on a quiet hike or walk by myself where I can just really get quiet and listen to the earth and get back to the natural way.
I'm not a crazy rock climber or kayaker or anything like that. Really, for me, it's being in the earth walking around.
Your new album, 'The Fruitful Darkness,' is an unconventional release…
It's my first independent release, so we really had the freedom to do what we wanted to do and as artists we have to adapt and grow with the times and Spotify and whatever internet streaming things are going down. I just found that these days we don't have the same attention span, the same patience as we did years ago, and it's really hard even for me — like if I get an album and am in love with the album it's very hard for me to make it to the end of the album. Songs get lost, stories don't get told.
I wanted to take this project a little bit at a time to make sure each song got its proper space so nothing was missed, left out. It also allows us to have a yearlong conversation rather than, you know, you release a new album and people listen to it for a few months and move on to the next thing. We just wanted to continue the conversation and we wanted everybody to hear every part of the conversation, so that's why we chose to [release in parts].
Are you feeding in new tracks for your live sets?
Oh yeah, we haven't been back for I think maybe a couple years but we have a lot of new songs, a new setup. We're really excited to be sharing that new way with everybody and give them a different taste and a different energy and also, of course, playing the songs that people know — but showing where we're at currently is exciting. I'm excited to bring new flavor to the show and to the place.
What's the most spontaneous thing you've done during a live show?
Oh gosh, so many things. I mean I've jumped off balconies, which I don't do anymore because my mom saw and I got in a lot of trouble.
I think it's just going into certain songs and there's a lot of jumping out in the crowd, dancing around in the crowd. It just depends on the energy and flow of what each night brings.
You just came off a gig overseas with Nahko. Do you have a favorite collaborator?
Nahko's definitely one of my favorites just because we're such good friends and it's always nice to create art, make music with a brother. We have an ease and a flow to our relationship that makes it effortless. I love playing with Nahks, I love playing with Michael Franti, who's kind of like a guiding light for us youngsters because he's been doing it for so long and has had such a successful career. It's just wonderful to have an elder like that, a teacher to help show us little ones the way. It's always nice being with him, playing with him because he brings such good energy, high energy to everywhere he goes.
I've been blessed to have so many different flavors and be able to play with so many friends. That's the thing that's special for me, is to share the stage with friends and make music with friends.
Out of all your influences, who played the biggest role?
I think the biggest influence growing up — and when I heard his music it was like, "Ah, man, this is like a pivotal thing for me" — was when I heard Ben Harper. He had one of my favorite albums of all time, "The Will to Live," it just hit me so hard, and I became such a fan of his and more so than the music he just really conveyed and translated this powerful, powerful message. When I first heard him it was a big turning point for me.
You came out with the song 'Up There' after an experience in India with your wife. What other experiences led to songs?
That song was pretty direct. I state it as a story. We had this experience and it just immediately was boom, into this song. Not all songs are like that. Of course some songs take longer or are more abstract.
Thinking through, there's another song coming out on part four, the full album, called "Free," which is a song that I'm really excited about. It came about from a night that we had up at a festival at Squamish in Canada, a festival called Blessed Coast, and I was able to run into a family that I love very much… We were all sitting outside of [a] camper, everybody was camping out, and we just had this really beautiful evening, and the next night I wrote this song just about that night and about that whole day spending time with them, and I was very lucky to have [that family] come and sing on that song on the recording. That's one I'm really excited about.
What do you want fans to take away from your music?
I think a healing. That's what music is for me. It does something to my mind and body that nothing else can… I know how important that is and I know how amazing that feels when you can really just go into your body and do things like that. I hope that's what translates for people, but I want people to get whatever they want from it.
If people just want to have a good time and jump around, I hope people get that. If people want to use it for their meditation or whatever, I hope people get that. I want it to be whatever people want it to be for them.
We're at a time where there's a lot of venom and anger, and you're trying to do the opposite of that.
That's always been there, that venom, it's part of creation. I feel like that's a demon's duty: to do demon things. It's their nature, but it's our duty to do uplifting, positive things.
The thing that I've learned just from traveling the world is that [we're] the same. Everybody is just the same when you really get down to it, we're all just people and we're all trying to find our way and we're all trying to share in this experience together. It doesn't matter where you come from, no matter how culturally different you are, we're really just the same.
Traveling like that gives you open-mindedness and you understand that there's so many different types of rivers. Your river is not the only river. Your way is not the only way in the world. There's so many different types of rivers and all those rivers are flowing into the sea. They're all going to meet there and when those rivers meet they lose their name and form once they go into the ocean, and you realize it's just water the whole time. I think that's the thing that is so beautiful about being able to play around the world: You see that everybody resonates the same despite the language, as soon as you play the music it all touches the same place within us and that's why music is such a unifying experience.