The slow lane to success
By TONY SPEARS, Ottawa Sun

Last Updated: July 13, 2010 11:58pm

Speeding along the California highway doing another music interview, Trevor Hall is on the slow lane to success.

He’s tried the fast lane. It didn’t work.

The South Carolina-born Hall experienced the fickle music business first-hand after he was signed to a major record label in Grade 12. He moved to Los Angeles right after graduation to pursue his distinct brand of melancholy reggae.

In L.A. Hall was “just kind of splurging, doing my thing,” he said. “I saw this timeline of how my life was going to go.

“And then it all sort of crumbled.”

A steady rotation of record executives — no less immune to the erratic music world than artists, it seems — kiboshed three albums from about 2005 to 2008.

As he finished his first album, a new president arrived.

“He didn’t like the album I made,” Hall said.

So he put together a second.

“They liked it.”

But newer executives arrived and just before his third album was about to drop, they dropped him instead.

The executives giveth and the executives taketh away.

“It was a little rough,” he admits. But he also said it felt kind of nice “because I was free.

“For three years I wasn’t able to release any music.”

He immediately joined up with drummer friend Chris Steele on an album called “This is Blue.”

“We were just having fun,” he said. “We were stoked.”

Now he’s set to appear on Bluesfest’s closing day, accompanied by accomplished reggae artist Jimmy Cliff.

They only met Friday. Hall confessed he was slightly on edge about meeting the man he calls a legend.

“I’m just excited to play with him,” he said.

The laid-back singer with the deep, mournful voice said his “acoustic, reggae-style music” fits in well with the idea of Bluesfest.

“I think blues is about feeling,” he said. “We generally have a good amount of pain in our songs.”

And he couldn’t be happier.