ROCK AND ROLL REPORT
Serve All and Tell the Truth” – Trevor Hall, Eternal Optimist
From beginning to end this is an album that will not only engage your ears, but will also engage your inner being. Trevor mixes reggae style with a rock and roll edge and smoothes it all out with deep, soothing vocals. His music has an undeniable refreshing tone of unity that leaves behind a feeling of inspiration and his sound is somewhere along the lines of Matisyahu, Ben Harper and Michael Franti. He has however found his own voice and it’s one of love, hope and connection.
The first track, “Internal Heights,” is a melting pot of cultures which leads the listener into some island-influenced serenades like “Who You Gonna Turn to” and “The Lime Tree.” If one thing is evident in this album, it’s Trevor Hall’s passion for music and for bringing people together. Not only are the songs rich in sound, but the music enriches your soul.
Growing up in South Carolina, Trevor knew from an early age that he was meant to make music. As a young teen he would come home every day after school and spend time playing guitar and writing songs. After being fortunate enough to attend the Idyllwild School for the Arts in California, Trevor saw how music could bring people together and from there his after-school hobby developed into the beginnings of a full-blown career.
Currently on tour with Matisyahu, Trevor was generous enough to take some time to talk to The Rock and Roll Report.
Q: Your sound is very much that of an “old soul”. Can you tell us about the influences that helped develop your musical style?
A: Ever since my youth, I have been greatly inspired by reggae music. Especially roots reggae that brings the spiritual message. I was so attracted to that one drop rhythm [because] it really resonated with me how anyone could move their feet to it. That was the foundation for me. Now I am really inspired by Indian music and other music from around the world. As for my lyrics, I am greatly inspired by the mystic poets such as Hafiz, Rumi, Kabir, and Rabindranath Tagore.
Q: Did your upbringing and family play a role in the positive and hopeful messages that are typical of your music?
A: My family has always been extremely supportive: they have showered love on me ever since I was born. I believe that a child’s youth shapes their whole lives. They made sure that I had the freedom to express myself through music.
Q: What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?
A: By the grace of the Most High, I have been extremely blessed to play with all types of people. The highlights have not been only playing with people, but forming friendships as well.
Q: You’ve been on the road quite a bit lately, do you have any anecdotes about the people you’ve met or what you’ve experienced?
A: The road is always surprising. You never know who you are going to see or what is going to happen. This time around we had a little funny situation where we ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere in Montana. Within moments my drummer, Chris Steele, flagged down a car of three cowboys and got in the car with them to go get gas. After he left, my bass player, Super Mario, and I wondered if it was the best idea. Wondered if we would ever see him again. Chris returned and we made it to the next gig [laughs].
Q: “Unity” is one of those songs that sounds extremely natural and organic and really has the ability to bring people together. What was the writing process for that song and how was the experience of working with Matisyahu?
A: I’m in the dressing room right now in Illinois [and] just got off stage with Matisyahu singing that song. It is always a blessing sharing the stage with him; I love him greatly and really hope he continues to flourish. “Unity” was written during our last tour together during the time of the Mumbai shootings. There was a Jewish Temple there and the couple inside had died. Matisyahu knew of the people so it really hit a little closer to home. The whole tour we were really discussing and meditating on why people fight and kill in the name of God and religion. It made us so unhappy. Also, there were other things happening on that tour that were related to that situation. The pot kept brewing and brewing until that song came out the last show of the tour.
A: I try not to think about the future or where I could be. I am blessed to be playing music every night and doing what I love. Where the Almighty wants me, She shall put me there. I have no fear.
A: Plenty of times. That even happens now sometimes when I am really tired and burnt out. But those thoughts pass quickly. Music is what I love, but I also believe that it is my service to the world and to others. It is my duty – no matter what happens.
A: Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope the music inspires you in a positive way. Love all, serve all and tell the truth.