Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009

Podpicks for November 19, 2009

This week the guest Pod Picks chair is occupied by singer-songwriter Trevor Hall - most famous for his song "Other Ways'' from the "Shrek 3" soundtrack - who recommends the following tracks for downloading (legally, of course) to your iPod or other personal media device.

"I Shall Not Walk Alone" by Ben Harper

This is a song that greatly influenced me when I was just starting out. I remember exactly where I was and exactly how I felt when I heard it. I remember thinking, "I want to make music like this." The message of the song is beautiful, but the way he sings it is what gets to me. I feel like he is singing from experience...almost like this is the last song he has to sing. The way it is recorded is also very important. It is so stripped down and naked, which I feel is the way one should feel when listening. Whenever I listen to it, I feel like both my hands are empty and I am completely free to grab on to the Most High.

"Ud Jayega Hans Akkela" by Kumar Gandharva

Whenever I hear the voice of Kumar Gandharva, my world falls away and I am speechless. I have said that if I had the choice to hear something at the time of my death that it would be the voice of Kumar Gandharva. The word "Gandharva" means "heavenly or celestial singer" and Kumar Ji definitely lives up to the title, even though he only has one lung. This song was actually written by a famous Indian poet named Kabir. In yoga philosophy, the swan represents an enlightened being because it has the ability to separate the real from the unreal, to take the milk and leave the water. This song talks about how the swan shall go alone, looking on the world as a "mere fair". He sings about how when a leaf falls from a tree, nobody knows where it will land once blown away by the winds of destiny. To say the least, I feel like Kumar Ji is that swan in this song. The emotion with which he sings cannot be described in words.

"Temple" by Matisyahu

Bob Marley said, "Who feels it, knows it." Whenever I hear this song, I feel it. I remember being in NYC hanging out with Matisyahu one evening. He was giving me a ride back to where I was staying after we were working on some stuff in the studio together when he asked if I wanted to hear some other music he had been working on. The first song he played was "Temple." I almost started crying right there in the car. Matisyahu was telling me how the harmony in the chorus is an ancient melody that is sung once a year in certain holy places in prayer for the rebuilding of the "third temple." Whenever I hear it, I feel like the construction is already underway.

For more about and Hall and to sample his music, go to his Web site, www.trevorhallmusic.com

- Trevor Hall will appear tonight at the House of Blues as part of the Mavericks Live 2009 tour, featuring headliner Matisyahu.