Trevor Hall, reggae fusion in New York
February 17, 12:28 PMNY Rock Music ExaminerTina Benitez

Trevor Hall sounds as though he’s lived a lifetime. Still in high school, he self-released his first album, Lace Up Your Shoes, in 2004. So much has happened since graduation: Hall was signed to Geffen then dropped in 2008 after some reorganization; signed with Vanguard; released a self-titled album last July; and toured with Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Marley, Rusted Root and Colbie Caillat. Things are moving for the 22-year-old singer, songwriter, and the current tour brings Hall to some familiar cities, including a return to New York this Thursday for a show at the Mercury Lounge with Aaron Dugan of Hebrew reggae band Matisyahu.

“It’s surprising to see how many people are coming out,” said Hall. “It’s feeling like something is happening, like word is getting out. All the kids are singing the words to the songs.”

Cognizant of his reggae influences on single “Who You Gonna Turn To,” perhaps Hall's take on “Buffalo Soldier,” to the more rollicking “Unity” and “Volume,” it's easy to pick up on any Marley comparisons, but the scruffy vocals do not match the blonde-haired, blue-eyed singer’s visage.

“When I first heard Marley he opened that whole world to me,” said Hall. “From there I really got into Burning Spear and Culture and some of the more dance hall, Motown-y stuff like Jimmy Cliff. Everything about that music attracted me—the harmony, the rhythm, the themes. It really created this beautiful foundation for songs.”

More spontaneity is on the new album, according to Hall. “I feel a little bit more at home, more so than with the first [album],” he said. “The first one is not as grounded; this record is a little more stable. With the first album, a musician is always exploring themselves, their style. With the first album, I was still younger and trying to figure out where I wanted to go. With the recent album, I found a little bit of that direction.”

All cliché’s aside—the future is still wide open for Hall as this tour, which started in January, continues on through mid-March. “I try to stay in the moment and don’t really have huge expectations,” he said. “I’m totally lucky to be playing music at such a young age. I hope in a couple of years, I can continue doing what I’m doing. If it’s on a bigger scale great. If it’s not on a bigger scale, great. I’m just happy following my heart and doing what I love, whether it’s popular or not so popular.”