Trevor Hall reaches Higher Ground, physically and spiritually

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Trevor Hall reaches Higher Ground, physically and spiritually

Trevor Hall, with his father and father-in-law

Trevor Hall, with his father and father-in-law

Travis LeClair

Trevor Hall, with his father and father-in-law

Travis LeClair

Travis LeClair

Trevor Hall, with his father and father-in-law

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I have been listening to Trevor Hall regularly since discovering his record nearly five years ago. A signed poster hangs in my room, and I made his last tour’s tee shirt into a sleeveless pajama top. I’ve seen his music live a few times, and every show seems to ground me mentally, and breathe freshness in my life.

I know nearly every lyric, and sometimes I laugh at myself for being such a fan boy.

However, there is good reason to love Trevor’s music, I promise that.

From the first listen I felt the lyrics feed a sort of spiritual search that lives in me. It is corny, but doesn’t the best music feel spiritual in a way? Don’t we feel certain music beyond eardrum and foot tap?

This is true especially when the music is live.

Trevor Hall played at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vt. on Oct. 23, four months after the release of his latest album, “Chapter of the Forest.” The second song on the album is titled, “Green Mountain State,” and is a nod to Vt. where he spent time finding spiritual healing and growth.

Trevor and his wife spent time in Vt. forests where they literally enacted the teachings of Bengali Saint Ramakrishna, who stressed the importance for people to remove themselves from the busy world, whether in mind or actual forest, and spend time meditating on leaves, sky, spirit or god.

The nest day Trevor’s Facebook read, “One of the most special nights of the Small Is Beautiful Tour … Playing for the Green Mountain State, the place from which so much of the inspiration behind ‘Chapter of the Forest’ came from. We always love coming to Vermont, and give thanks to all of the Villagers who came out to last night’s show.”

Trevor Hall fans are coined as villagers.

Trevor is a guitarist and lyricist. His music bounces between rock and reggae, and sings of middle-east spirituality more than the average radio-pop love song. He often tours with musicians of the similar mindset like Michael Franti and Brett Dennan. Earlier in his career, Trevor would open for Jewish singer/rapper Matisyahu.

Trevor has long dreads, and lotus flowers tattooed on his collarbones. He wears other ink and Buddhist prayer beads, and often tells funny or inspiring stories in between songs during his performances.
Trevor did some acoustic songs without his band, at times singing and speaking uplifting mantras. Higher Ground felt happy.

The show was very intimate.

Trevor’s tour is named Small is Beautiful. Earlier in his tour, his vehicle was robbed of musical equipment, and Trevor didn’t know if the tour could go on. He posted for help on social media and the response by fans exceeded expectations.

I remember checking Facebook updates, hoping the tour would make it to Burlington.

The extra donations were given to the “Love Your Brain” charity. Trevor’s tour is partnering with this charity that aims to provide yoga and meditation to those who have suffered brain injuries. “Love Your Brain,” was founded by snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered traumatic injuries while training for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Trevor opened up with “Jagadeesha,” a prayerful song that sings, “Bless all our hours, hours, hours.”

Trevor played “Green Mountain State” with fans singing along: “I call on the green mountain state, I call on all the silence you make, Do you live inside, outside me? As you speak through 10,000 leaves.” The chorus repeats “there’s a way” ten times. I sang along to this mantra and was reminded how live music can help you shed stress and baggage.

Trevor played some older stuff including “Unity,” “Lime Tree,” “Well I Say,” and “Te Amo.”

Trevor explained “Te Amo,” as almost prophetic, written about his wife who he would meet a couple years after creating the song. At the time of writing the song, Trevor’s drummer asked, “Dude, are you all right? Dude?”

The room was quiet, and couples were swaying and smooching, as Trevor sang, “Well I been trying to meet you baby, I been trying to seek you lovely, tell me where you come from darling, tell me where you run to honey.”

All of the musicians, including Trevor, kicked ass. To the right of the stage was a standing bass, and to the left was a percussionist who seemed to have four hands, playing drums, chimes, tambourine, and symbols. At times he looked like a wild man, my eyes barely being able to keep up with the vibrant movements of his arms.

I went to the concert with a drummer, who commented multiple times how awesome the percussionist was.

Trevor invited the opening musicians, Cas Haley and Tubby Love, on stage. With arms around one another, Trevor and Tubby Love chanted, “We need it, culture bleeding, great spirit, come and guide us home.”

The crowd clapped and sang back over and over, as the percussionist became louder. Soon, Tubby Love- a skinny, bearded, rock-reggae artist- hopped around, swinging his arms and legs while dancing in circles. Trevor banged his chest, head, and guitar with the audience’s claps.

Towards the end of the night Trevor announced that he was about to do something that’s never happened before.

He introduced his father and father-in-law, and the three sang “Om Shanti Om” together. The sight was totally sweet, and a bit awkward in an endearing way. The two men didn’t seem quite as used to the stage life as Trevor.

For the encore, Trevor and his two musicians entered into the middle of the crowd where they played a quiet, intimate farewell.
Trevor threw his pick and it landed feet from me, where someone else pointed to it and picked it up.

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