“Love All, Serve All and Tell the Truth” – Trevor Hall, Eternal Optimist and Musician

7 01 2010

(originally written 11/17/09)

When it comes to music, I find that most of my favorite albums are the ones that take some time to grow on me; however, every once in a while I hear an album and I instantly fall in love…so is the case with Trevor Hall’s latest self-titled release.

From beginning to end, this is an album that will not only engage your ears, but engage your inner being.  He mixes reggae style with a rock and roll edge, and smooths it out with deep, soothing vocals.  His music has an undeniable refreshing tone of unity that leaves behind a feeling of inspiration.  His sound is somewhere along the lines of Matisyahu, Ben Harper and Michael Franti but he has definitely found his own voice…and it’s one of love, hope and connection.

The first track “Internal Heights” is a melting pot of cultures that manages to still rock out, which is the perfect way to start of the album.  From there Trevor moves through some island-influenced serenades like “Who You gonna Turn to” and The Lime tree” but still keeps the energy alive with songs like “Unity” “Sing The Song” and “Volume”.  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 at 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 start of his career.  Currently on tour with Matisyahu, Trevor was generous enough to take some time to us…

RA:  First off, let me say that your music is amazing.  I listened to your latest self-titled release through a friend and was instantly blown away.  Your sound is very worldly and your voice seems wise, way beyond your years, it is very much that of an “old soul”.  Can you tell me a little about the influences and inspirations that have played a part in developing your musical style today?

Trevor:  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. 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.

RA:  Did your upbringing and family have a lot to do with the positive and hopeful messages that we hear in your music or did that come along the way as well?

Trevor:  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.

RA:  What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Trevor:  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.

RA:  It looks like you’ve been on the road quite a bit lately, do you have any funny or interesting stories about the people you’ve met or what you’ve experienced?

Trevor:  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 no where in Montana. Within moments my drummer, Chris Steele, flagged down a car of 3 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 🙂

RA:  Unity is one of those songs that just sounds so natural and organic and really has the ability to just bring people together.  Can you tell me a little about the writing process for that song and the experience of working with Matisyahu?

Trevor:  I’m in the dressing room right now in Illinois. 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 hopes 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.

RA:  Although you don’t seem to be a household name yet, the response I’ve gotten from everyone who’s heard your music is the same, they all just think its reeaaallly really good.  It seems to be just a matter of time before the word spreads and you have a huge break.  Do you feel like that’s where you are?  Or is this tour with Matisyahu really the big break?  Where do you see yourself in the near future?

Trevor:  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.

RA:  I know there have been ups and downs, and I’m sure the road hasn’t always been easy, but it seems like you’ve come really far at a young age, was there ever a time when you didn’t think you’d make it, or when you weren’t sure that this was the right path for you?

Trevor:  Plenty of times. That even happens now some times 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.

RA:  I really do think your music has a way of reaching out to everyone and touching them in a very inspirational way.  Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave for your fans and our readers?

Trevor:  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.

Trevor Hall’s Official Website

Trevor Hall on Myspace

Trevor Hall on Lala

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RockAngel’s Radar brings you…The Temper Trap’s latest “Conditions”

3 11 2009

Heard of a little band called Phoenix lately? Even if it doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve definitely heard the song 1901 in a car commercial, a TV show, or just turning on the radio. Well that band is great…and now commercially popular obviously. But that’s old news, and now I’m on to the next big thing that Glassnote Records is bringing to the masses, and that’s The Temper Trap.

Hailing from Australia, The Temper Trap has already caught the ears of BBC’s Radio 1 and countless SXSW critics and bloggers, and now it’s time that The Rock and Roll Report gets a taste of their newest album Conditions. These emotion driven melodies can transport you to an inner reflection and still manage to keep your toes tapping. You may not know it yet, but these guys are the soundtrack to your future.

There’s not a detail missed in these meticulously crafted tracks from the heart pounding “Sweet Disposition” (recently featured in Indie film “500 Days of Summer”) to the anthem-like “Fader” and the electronic-experimentation “Science of Fear”. “Drum Song” really showcases how the percussion of this band keeps you on your toes, and acts as the epitome of their instrumental capabilities (I’m not even usually an instrumental fan).

Every time I listen to this album, I hear something new, and fall in love over and over again. Not since the Killers “Hot Fuss” album have I heard something so refreshing yet so instantly classic. If you can catch these guys at a small venue, do it now, because if they stay on this creative track, they’re gonna be up in the ranks with bands like Radiohead. This band deserves everything that comes their way and I truly believe this is one of the best albums of the year by far.

The Temper Trap Official Website

The Temper Trap Myspace

Conditions on Lala





Want to listen to the new Muse album “Resistance” but can’t wait until tomorrow?

14 09 2009
Just can't resist it

Just can't resist it

If you sign up to be a member on their website, you can stream the whole album free…

http://muse.mu

Once you sign up, go to the media player and click “play”…yes, it’s that simple

I’m so excited, I couldn’t wait another day.  Muse is an amazing band, and I only expect more amazing music from Resistance.





White Rabbits kill it at the live show at Casbah in San Diego

18 06 2009

Originally seduced by the lead track Percussion Gun from their new album It’s Frightening, I explored the rest of White Rabbits newest release and realized this band is really on to something. With a smooth Spoon sort of feel (hmmm, may have something to do with the creative hand of Brit Daniel on this album) and a rugged Cold War Kids intensity, White Rabbits manage to create something that is nothing short of music heaven. They put more creativity into one song than most put into a whole album.

So after knowing all of this, I head to a live show at the Casbah in San Diego that I am hopeful will be something to write about, and I got more than I ever could have asked for. I got there in time for the openers, and unfortunately for me, the first band of the night had a singer that was trying to be Luke Pritchard from The Kooks, only he wasn’t British, and I wasn’t buying it. So I had another drink, and prayed to the musical gods…

Next up was a band I had never heard of-The Subjects. I was a bit skeptical of this 4 piece flannel-clad band who claim to reign from Brooklyn, but look more like they come from a laid back hippie town. Don’t let their look fool you though. Initially I was getting a jam band kind of vibe, but then they pulled in all the creative tricks of Indie’s best and even threw in…reggae? Is that what I heard? Yes. My musical companion for the night heard it also. As he put it, “it sounds like these guys sit around a room, possibly filled with some kind of mind altering substance, saying, ‘yeah, that sounds cool, let’s try it”. Their influence was diverse and their execution was flawless. A lot of “ooohs” and “ahhhs”, some great harmonies, a touch of a synth, and a solid rock band sound fused with Chamber Pop creativity all came together and made me remember why I liked to catch the openers. To top it off, I talked to the singer for a minute afterwards and he couldn’t be nicer. I wish the best for these guys, because they definitely deserve it. Check out their myspace…but realize that the quality of these songs just doesn’t do them justice. Preorder their album from the page, or wait until it’s picked up by iTunes or Lala, so you can really get a sense of what these guys are capable of.

White Rabbits live at the Casbah

White Rabbits live at the Casbah

Now for the main event…White Rabbits hit the stage, and they don’t waste any time warming up the crowd. The drumbeat is prevalent …wait, the drum beats are KILLING it! Yes, they had two drummers…and so the percussion orgasm begins. The band plays with an energy that is unsurpassed by anyone I’ve seen and the singer eases in with a smooth intensity that pierces even the toughest exterior to reach deep down into your musical soul. And apparently, no one told the backup vocals that they had to be inferior to the main ones because they brought depth to the many instrumental layers that were already there and they went down as smooth as a good scotch (or good red wine for those of us that don’t drink scotch).

One of the key elements to this band is the pairing of the intense drumbeats with the simplistic beauty of a piano (keys). These guys are no strangers to a good progressive buildup and they use these elements, in addition to the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, textured vocals, and even tambourine (who knew it would be so important?) to drive you to a musical climax that is sure to propel them to the stardom they deserve.

His voice is so richly textured and intense...amazing!

His voice is so richly textured and intense...amazing!

By the time they got to their single “Percussion Gun”, I didn’t think it could get any better, but of course, I was wrong. The live performance of this song should go down in history. Even if you weren’t a fan before, you couldn’t walk away from that song without being completely blown away. Check out the video posted on their myspace page to get an idea. Words cannot describe their performance of this song; it was nothing sort of a radioactive spiritual experience that left the crowd glowing in the aftermath.

White Rabbits - Percussion Gun -Casbah San DIego

They always say in the law of attraction to “act the part”, even if you’re not there yet, and these guys go out every night and play like they have made it big…no matter how small the venue. Check ‘em out now, while you still can see them at a small venue, because these guys are headed straight to the top.

White Rabbits “Percussion Gun” Music Video from White Rabbits on Vimeo.

White Rabbits on lala:

It’s Frightening
Fort Nightly (2007 release)

White Rabbits Myspace

The Subjects Myspace

…keep rockin’…





Black Eyed Peas – The E.N.D – review, streaming and cheap album deal

12 06 2009

singlethongsinglethongsinglethongsinglethong

If you know me, you know I’m not really one for pop or hip hop music, but for whatever reason, I thought I’d give the new Black Eyed Peas release The E.N.D. a try…and it definitely wasn’t for my love of Boom Boom Pow, because honestly, I was not super-impressed with it.  It’s a fun party song, but it didn’t really stand out from the rest.

However, once I listened, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve like Black Eyed Peas since back in the days pre-Fergie, and their sound has definitely evolved and become more pop, but you can’t deny that they did what they had to do to get noticed.  Although you could say they’ve completely sold out, for a fun pop/hip hop/dance album, The E.N.D. is everything it needs to be.  They’ve definitely incorporated a lot more electronic/techno sounds compared to the hip hop infused Elephunk, but it’s actually pretty interesting to see their evolution and versatility. They do a great job of switching up the style so it never gets redundant, and I’m sure you can attribute that to the creative producing done by will.i.am.

Click on the album for a free full album streaming!

Click on the album for a free full album streaming!

Songs like “Imma Be” and “Boom Boom Pow” are not really my thing, but the sampling in “Rock That Body” and “Party all the Time” (among others) is pretty spectacular.  I really like the originality in “Now Generation” and “Out of My Head” (I love the old school funk feel of this one).  Honestly, I could do without the white-girl-Fergie-raps most of the time, but when Fergie belts it out on songs like “Missing You” and “Meet Me Halfway” it makes you realize what she really brings to the table. For the old school fans, check out “One Tribe”…it’s a nice blend of the old and new style and is a little more meaningful than the club hits.

Yes, I gave it 4 thongs.  So call me a sellout and make fun of me all you want, but I think this album is a great summer CD to throw in the car when you’re gettin’ ready to head out for the night.  The windows are down, your hair is did, and you’re gettin’ pumped and enjoying the lighter side of life.  It’s also great to get you through the last few hours of work on a Friday 🙂

And really,  you can’t beat $3.99 for an MP3 album through Lala.com.   You can stream it for free and buy it for only $3.99 from Lala for a limited time.

…keep rockin’…





New Music Tuesday – 06.02.09 – Dave Matthews, The Sounds, 311, Taking Back Sunday…all these album releases in one day, am I in heaven?ban

2 06 2009

If you know me, you should know that my favorite weekday is New Music Tuesday.  However, some are definitely better than others, and this week, the list of albums dropping makes me salivate (it was either the music or the delicious mango I just ate, maybe a mixture of both).

Dave Matthews New AlbumFirst off, we have the one and only Dave Matthews with Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.  Whether you like him, or hate him, you can’t deny that he has become a permanent fixture in musical history, and hopefully one that’s due for a comeback.  I’m not going to lie, if he played music from his few albums, I would know a total of 1 song (I thought the collabo with Jurassic 5 was pretty cool).  I will always agree he is one of the best live acts out there because the energy at his show is only understood through the music (which is why his live albums have always been so much more popular), but I haven’t gone to his show in a few years because the new stuff just hasn’t had the same impact on me as his older stuff.

So what does the new album have to offer?  Is this the album that wins back his older fans?  I don’t think you can judge an album after just one listen, but I can say, it’s definitely worth listening to a few more times, and maybe many more.  I’ve definitely gotten chills a few times and I think he goes back to a more organic sound, but there is still a sense of wanting to move forward and not just produce what’s already been done.  One thing I can say, is he is still an amazing writer and creates some of the most unique melodies.  Take a listen for yourself with a free streaming preview of Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King from Lala below and let me know what you think.

Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King – Free album streaming

The Sounds Crossing The RubiconNext on my listening list…The Sounds.  You may not have heard of them before they opened for No Doubt this year on tour, but this band has been a fierce Swedish force since 1999.  They’re definitely a 180 from DMB with the electro-pop synth and new wave sound and their latest album Crossing The Rubicon doesn’t stray much from what we’ve come to know of them.  For some reason I never expect much from The Sounds, even though I have loved their music consistently since I first heard them.  Maybe the lack of expectation gives me a better appreciation for each album, but either way, I’m really digging Crossing The Rubicon so far.  It’s nothing that’s going to change your world, but it might just add a little extra flavor to your days.  The energy is totally upbeat and fun and their first single “Nobody Sleeps When I’m Awake” really doesn’t do the album justice.  The final verdict?  Can’t be sure, but I know it makes me smile, I’ll let you hear for yourself…listen to Crossing The Rubicon for free from Lala below:

The Sounds – Crossing The Rubicon – Free album streaming

311 Uplifter“My longtime friend”…311, oh how I’ve missed you. But if you’re like me, you probably think they’ve gotten a little soft in their progression since Music in ’01.  For the most part, I found Uplifter to be pretty mellow and their first single “Hey You” is a pretty good indicator of what the rest of the album is about.  There are a few songs that remind me of the good ol’ 311, like “Jackpot” and “India Ink”, but I don’t think I’ll be listening to the rest of the album again.  It does live up to its name, as I found the album to be very uplifting, but I was also pretty bored.  Listen to the album and judge for yourself though:

311 – Uplifter – Free album streaming

Taking Back Sunday New AgainAfter a very relaxing afternoon with 311, I’m pretty happy that Taking Back Sunday was here to rock me into the evening with their release of New Again.  My first take on the album is that it pretty solidly rocks, in standard Taking Back Sunday fashion.  It’s definitely one that needs a few more good listens to really judge, but so far, my favorites are “Carpathia” and the title track “New Again”.  Ready to do some rocking out?  Check it out:

Taking Back Sunday – New Again – Free album streaming

Also, don’t forget to check out Rancid’s new one Let the Dominoes Fall or Blood:Franz Ferdinand.  I didn’t have time to check them out today, but they are definitely in my queue.  Also, Patrick Wolf is flying under the radar with The Bachelor but it could turn out to be a real hidden gem if it’s anything like his older stuff (very indie, very unique).

And that concludes one of the best NMT’s in RockAngel history…some surprises, some let-downs, but overall, I have a few new albums, and a full queue of songs left, and have completely overindulged in music today so I am one happy little RockAngel.

Until next time…keep rockin’…





RockAngel’s Weekly Radar recommends The Working Title

15 05 2009

The Weekly Radar is here to bring you the artists, albums and songs that might not be on your musical radar, but should be. This week, I’d like to introduce you to Joel Hamilton—the mastermind behind The Working Title.

The new album Bone Island just came out on the 12th and is nothing short of a musical masterpiece. However, The Working Title has been releasing consistently well-crafted albums since 2003 and has since matured like a fine wine. Since their initial EP in 2003, the band has dwindled down to the bare bones of only Joel Hamilton and the producing genius known as Jake Sinclair with mixing done by Claudius Mittendorfer (Mars Volta, Muse, Maroon 5, Brand New). As the layers of the band peeled away, Joel really found his voice and the new album finds its way into contention for my vote of one of the best albums of the year so far.

Joel

Joel


The Working Title’s
previous albums are good; they vary between songs that sound like the Fray to Radiohead and even Bright Eyes. Every album is a great listen, but Bone Island has pushed them into a whole new arena. They still have a similar sound, but breakthrough to the realm of Musical Genius on songs like “Wolf” (my fav) and will become Indie Gods with songs like “Arms and Thighs” and “Dead Inside”. Bone Island manages to be original enough to please the Indie rockers, but catchy enough to not annoy the rest of us..which is an unusually hard balance to achieve. Even the slow songs have a movement and progression that you want to listen to over and over, because it just goes down smoother with every shot.

This isn’t an album you have to blast loud to enjoy (though I would recommend it), and it’s not an album you have to be on illegal drugs to see the beauty in…it’s more like a sampler platter, filled with lots of raw emotion, poetic lyrics, and some damn good producing. Joel tries a little of this, a little of that, and ends up with something completely original, and absolutely delicious.

Until next time…keep rockin’…

The Working Title Myspace

Bone Island full album preview


Older albums by The Working Title