July 8, 2010

Trevor Hall: Reggae flavors Hall's sound

Southern California singer-songwriter makes soulful music

Anne Erickson

Living in Southern California, singer-songwriter Trevor Hall took to the rich culture of reggae music.

"I was a surfer, and reggae music is part of surf culture," says the 23-year-old, chatting on the phone. "So, I got into reggae music through surfing, and it grew from there."

Hall, who opens for Sammy Hagar on Common Ground's Capital Region International Airport stage on Wednesday, signed with a major label before the age of 18. That might sound intimidating, but Hall took it in stride.

"I think I was too young to understand it," he laughs. "I thought, 'This is cool, a record deal.' But I was still a kid. I was immature and not really worried about anything."

Next came a full-length record and tours with the likes of Matisyahu and Colbie Caillat.

Meeting Matisyahu and Caillat, Hall says, is the best thing that could've happened to him.

"Both of them have become good friends of mine. Traveling is a good way to get to know someone and learn about them," he says. "I've been blessed to meet so many wonderful people through touring."

Touring is also where he feels most at home, delivering deeply soulful, feel-good songs that pay homage to the late-'60s and '70s Jamaican reggae traditions. This year, he has a live album out, "Chasing the Flame: On the Road with Trevor Hall," which he hopes represents the aesthetics of his band's live shows.

"We tour so much, and this past tour we had some really good shows that got recorded. As a band, we have a really energetic show, and we wanted to share that with people who couldn't come to our shows," he says.

Hall is all about Twitter.

"This generation is so addicted to social networks," he says. "Everybody wants to project out what they're doing, and the Internet is the quickest and most efficient way to reach a broad group of people."

Looking at Hall's photo, you might think he looks a tad like the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. And you wouldn't be the first.

"I used to get that all the time," he laughs. "I would walk out on stage, and somebody would scream, 'Kurt Cobain!' But that was when my hair was straight, and now I have dreadlocks, so it doesn't happen as often. And that makes me happy."

Additional Facts
• Wednesday, July 14, Capital Region International Airport stage with Sammy Hagar.

• On playing guitar: "I think I picked up the guitar around third grade, but I didn't like it. I thought it was too hard," he laughs. "So, I kept bouncing from instrument to instrument. Then, when I was 12, I wanted to write songs, and it was easiest to write songs on guitar."