February 4, 2010

Trevor Hall returns to Des Moines after missing show

Des Moines Register staff

In October, the last time we wrote about Trevor Hall, we were commenting on how many times the performer had appeared in Iowa recently. It went like this:

Trevor Hall has been a familiar face around Iowa lately. In August he performed at the Vaudeville Mews. In September he opened for Michael Franti at Stephens Auditorium. He returns again tonight, opening for Matisyahu at People's Court.

Well, Hall ended up missing that show when he got stuck at an airport, and he must have felt bad about it. He's making it up to fans with a performance at the Vaudeville Mews on Tuesday. The band Tomor-row's Bad Seeds will open.

On this trip to Des Moines, Hall will be in the third week of his own six-week headline tour that started Jan. 27 in San Francisco.

The South Carolina songwriter has been building a fan base the last few years. His song "Other Ways" was featuring in the film "Shrek the Third," and his self-titled 2009 album, which weavs together folk, reggae, hip-hop and alt-rock styles, features guest appearances by Colbie Caillat and Matisyahu. The album, produced by Marshall Altman (Matt Nathanson, Kate Voegele, Marc Broussard) debuted on Billboard's Heatseeker chart at Number 7.

Before the show he missed in October, Hall spoke by telephone with Juice magazine's music writer, Joe Lawler, who asked the artist if he had any favorite hangouts here in Iowa.

"Not really," Hall said. "On tour we just kind of cruise in, play and cruise out. When you're on the road, you don't get to see too much of the town. I know I've played People's and the Vaudeville Mews. I do like Des Moines and Iowa. People are good to me there."

What about fans who have seen Hall perform previously, will they see a different show this time around?

"The live show usually just evolves on its own," Hall said. "We try to keep it different so people don't come and see the same gig. ... When we get there we could change stuff on stage in that moment. You never really know."

There's a strong reggae influence on the new album. What made Hall move in that direction?

"Reggae's always been a big influence on me, ever since I was in high school," he said. "At the time I was making the record, I was listening to a lot of (reggae), more than usual. I didn't say "I want to write a reggae song," it just subconsciously came out in the work."

And the most important question: Which is the better hair: Michael Franti's dreads or Matisyahu's beard?

"I don't know, it's a tough comparison, Hall said. "Matis' beard just gets longer and longer. And he fools you and wraps it up or tucks it under and it looks like he cut it. Then he lets it down and it's like "Oh my God, that's a long beard." But Michael's dreads go past his waist."