Musician influenced by Marley, Harper
By Scott Iwasaki
Published: Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 5:25 p.m. MDT
Hall said while his musical heroes were the likes of Bob Marley and Ben Harper, he wasn't about to copy them so much as to be influenced by them.
"They had powerful music," Hall said in his low-key drawl during a phone call from the road somewhere outside of Connecticut. "I wanted to write powerful music like they did."
Although Hall has been playing music all his life — his parents were musicians — and he played classical guitar during high school, he favors reggae over any other style.
"I haven't played classical since high school, and it would take a lot for my chops to get up to par," he said with a laugh.
After a stint on Geffen Records and touring with the likes of Steel Pulse, Ziggy Marley, Rusted Root and Matisyahu, he signed to Vanguard Records.
Hall's song "Other Ways" was featured in the film "Shrek the Third" and his cover of the Band's "Life Is a Carnival" was included on the Band tribute album "Endless Highway: the Music of the Band."
In addition, he has released an extended play and three full-length albums, the most recent being a self-titled work that was released July 28 on iTunes.
"I recorded the CD in three weeks," he said. "I'm always writing songs and most of the songs were new, with the exception of maybe two. So, the songs are basically fresh and new."
Joining Hall on the single "Unity" is Matisyahu.
"I actually met him at the Sundance Film Festival a couple of years ago," Hall said. "I was playing at an art gallery and he came in and liked what he heard. We discussed working together and it happened this year. We co-wrote the song and he came to the studio and worked with me. And I, in turn, worked on his upcoming album."
Hall said working with Matisyahu was a great experience, but he usually doesn't over plan his moves when preparing for the recording studio.
"I don't think about the music too much," he said. "I don't like to do that. I like being able to let the music come through on its own, without forcing it."
That ties into Hall's philosophy of life — if you're confident about what you're doing, then you need not worry.
"I don't think people would like it if I tried to do something, rather than let it happen. I mean, if your comfortable with yourself, then you shouldn't worry about what others think.
"I know that some people like my music and others don't, The
trick is to put the praise in one pocket and the criticism in the
other and walk forward."