Return to Trevor Hall

Hall blends reggae with folk, acoustic rock

By Tristan Wagner

Trevor Hall credits his diverse sound to his father’s vinyl selection.

Hall’s father was a drummer who passionately collected records.

“My dad was musically very loose,” Hall said. “He listened to different stuff all the time, and as a result so did I. It taught me an appreciation for all different styles of music.”

Singer-songwriter Trevor Hall blends reggae, folk and acoustic rock to create his own sound, which he’ll bring to the Pink Garter Theatre’s stage at 9 p.m. Thursday.

“Everyone always asks how I describe my music, and I never know,” Hall said. “It changes. It’s its own entity.”

The foundation of his current sound, he said, grows from the likes of Jamaica’s Burning Spear and Culture and America’s Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. Blending the similarities in these styles creates a type of music that demands unique instrumentation.

“It’s easy on records, since you can go back over with different instruments and effects as many times as you want,” Hall said. “Live, it’s all different.We really build a full sound, an essence, with three people.”

It can be difficult for trios to create as full a sound as larger groups. Hall avoids that problem with the instruments he brings on tour. Backing his guitar and vocals are an upright bass and an alternative percussion set that combines traditional hand drums with the appearance and structure of a modern drum set.

“It’s difficult to explain the sound we get,” Hall said. “You just have to see us live. The songs take on a whole new energy.”

Something else that has contributed to Hall’s sound in recent years — and most notably on “Chapter of the Forest,” released June 2014 — was his pilgrimage to India in 2013.

“I wanted a break from touring to find myself,” Hall said. “I used the time to home in on my sound.”

Especially in his lyrics he drew from the philosophy of Indian spirituality to write an album.

Come Aug. 21, Hall will release his third album, “Kala,” written in Hawaii and recorded in Los Angeles. Throughout his tour he will introduce songs from “Kala.”

“I want to start mixing new songs in with the old,” Hall said, “because ‘Kala’ is different.”

Kala is the Sanskrit word for time, and the album centers around that concept. Hall said his experience with Eastern cultures changed his philosophy about time, leading to a shift in his music.

“When you think about the future, of your music, you put boundaries on where the music wants to go. I don’t want to limit myself musically at all,” he said.

That thought undoubtedly leads to more confusion as to how to define Hall’s style, but the magic of his sound lies in those gray areas between other people’s boundaries that he simply doesn’t see.

Hall played the Mangy Moose on his first solo tour in 2004 and returned to Jackson Hole in 2010. His show at the Pink Garter will be the third time he has performed in the valley but the first time he will sound the way he does now.

“It’s funny how much my music has changed since 2004, and I think it’ll continue to change,” he said. “But that keeps things dynamic and interesting.”

Tickets cost $17 to $20 at PinkGarterTheatre.com.