Have you seen this man?
By Joe Lawler

Trevor Hall makes his third stop in D.M. in as many months, this time opening for Matisyahu at People's Court.

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. Thursday he returns again, opening for Matisyahu at People's Court. 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 features guest appearances by Colbie Caillat and Matisyahu.

You've been to Iowa a lot in the last few months. Do you have any regular hangouts?
Not really. 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.

If people saw your solo show or your performance with Michael Franti, how will the show be different this time around?The live show usually just evolves on its own. We try to keep it different so people don't come and see the same gig. It also takes on its own form with whomever you're touring with. We want to make sure we're playing a little to their crowd while keeping our own style and vibe. It just kind of evolves whenever. When we get there we could change stuff on stage in that moment. You never really know.

There's a strong reggae influence on your new album. What made you move in that direction?Reggae's always been a big influence on me, every since I was in high school. 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. I wanted to explore that field a little more. It wasn't a planned thing; it just happened.

What was the writing process like on "Unity" with Matisyahu? Will you be doing the song together live?We were on tour during the shootings in Mumbai, and Matis knew some people who died there. It was kind of heavy, and I was thinking a lot and talking about it and other incidents that related to it. Toward the end of the tour I had written a chorus and was playing it. Matis was in the other room, heard it and sat down and we started shooting lyrics back and forth.

I don't know if we'll be doing it live. He's very spontaneous. Whatever he wants to do, that's what we'll do. Sometimes he wants to do something else. We'll see. I'm hoping he'll sing it with us.

Which is the better hair: Michael Franti's dreads or Matisyahu's beard?
I don't know, it's a tough comparison. 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. I don't know who to hand that to.