Trevor Hall
Trevor Hall
Vanguard Records

Music is a universal language. It can sometimes break down barriers and unite people, it can tug the heartstrings of just about anyone, it can trigger stronger memories than most other things in our collective lives. It is amazing that someone as young as Trevor Hall can prompt this king of reaction with his music. At least, I am assuming he is young. His eponymous release on Vanguard Records is not his first release, but it seems to be his most cohesive effort to date. The songs wind through the psyche with a fluidity and emotional presence that belies his relative anonymity, the songs holding a depth and character normally reserved for artists with a much longer and more revered catalog.

The album begins with "Internal Heights", a song that lifts the spirit in spite of, possibly because of, its simplistic lyric that repeats ad nauseam while the music takes on a modern world beat sound and Hall's vocals seem to echo Peter Gabriel's most earthy moments. Songs like "Who You Gonna Turn To" and "The Lime Tree" have an easy reggae feel, losing the force and drive of the other songs and turning to an easy, sunny drifting instead, even if their lyric is a little heavier. Hall is joined by Krishna Das for the brilliant "My Baba", a song replete with light dub influences and a spiritual message of hope and love. The incredible Matisyahu joins Hall for a second version of the reggae-rocker "Unity", another song with a strong message of hope and love for the entire world. There are songs here that sound like bands as varied as The Samples, Steve Scott and Gran Bel Fisher as Trevor Hall's voice resonates with a power and presence that belies his youth, inspiring the listener to greater things and challenging ordinary perceptions of beauty. "Volume" and "Sing The Song" take the music to an energetic level that transcends the mellow cool of the rest of the record, driving the rhythms faster and louder while still maintaining the messages of love and joy.

That is the true strength of Trevor Hall's music; not only does the music itself inspire the spirit to soar to greater heights, but also to find the joy and hope in the world around and embrace it, making that world a much better place. Whether he is coolly relating a story of tranquility or rocking things up a bit, his gritty voice reaches out to the listener to find something greater… something wonderful, everywhere, in everything. "There are many roads, many paths that lead to you/some say they're false, but I believe that all of them are true/the green earth and the sky blue…"

-Embo Blake