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Trevor Hall: On the search for spirit
Since late 1960s, when the Beatles traveled to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Pete Townshend wrote songs inspired by the writings of Meher Baba, Western rock musicians have been looking east to India for spiritual guidance.
Trevor Hall, a singer-songwriter who applies reggae flourish to a base of acoustic rock, has made India his spiritual home, taking trips there while maintaining and building his musical career in the U.S.
The South Carolina native explains that his Indian spiritual journey began with a picture on a wall. Hall walked into his friend’s dorm room in high school and saw a picture of the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba.
“From that one picture I was immediately taken. I was like, ‘Whoa, who is that?’ – just the vibrations of the picture,” Hall says. “I kinda fell in love with this saint, and anything that the saint loved, I wanted to love. So because the saint was from India, I wanted to know more about India. That kind of started my intrigue into the country and the culture. I eventually in 2007 was able to go with a group of people over there, and it just kind of stepped up my love for that one being and where he came from.”
Hall’s latest album, “Kala,” is the last in a trilogy of releases chronicling his recent spiritual journey during corresponding travels to India, Nepal, Maine and Vermont.
“Well, I’m a real hungry man, I guess, for spirit,” he says. “India’s just such a heavily soaked spiritual country. All these things, holy places and temples, it’s just kind of filled with that. I love it so much. When I’m over there, it’s hard not to be absorbed in spirit, because there are all these reminders everywhere. In other countries like Britain, the United States, it’s hard to remember, because we’re kind of a mainstream culture. We’re kind of distracted by what’s going on by the scene, the pop-culture scene, and material life. Over there it’s hard to forget, because it’s everywhere. It’s just a good place to go and soak up some good juju, so to say, and bring it back.”
Hall went to Maine and Vermont to replicate the solitude he experienced in Nepal and to reflect on his travels. He wrote “Kala” in Hawaii and recorded it in Los Angeles.
There’s a duality that exists in Hall’s career – going to far-away locations for inspiration and rejuvenation, then returning to the entertainment capital of the world to make a living. The way Hall sees it, he can’t have one without the other.
“That’s why it’s important to go into those places to recharge. Everybody has their own place of recharging, whether it’s going into a corner of your house and reading a book, or painting or something, or going for a walk,” he says. “So that’s why it’s important for me to really tap into those places, so I can have the energy and fuel to share my story with the people that want to listen to it. For me, going out to the big cities, and sharing the story, that’s what completes the circle. If I just went to these places and kept all these experiences for myself and didn’t share them, I’d feel like the journey isn’t complete. Part of the journey is sharing.”