Trevor Hall, Lighting The Night at Red Rocks!
By Ashley Shires
Trevor Hall, the talented singer/song-writer, gave a knock-out performance at Red Rocks on Father’s Day, June 16, 2019, performing with Ayla Nereo, one of my favorite contemporary female vocal artists, and Nhako and Medicine for the People, a stunning line-up of musicians who spark conscious social change. It was a perfect Colorado evening, blue skies, a scattering of sunset clouds, and the stunning sandstone walls of Red Rocks amphitheater illuminated during the sold-out show.
Trevor Hall opened his set standing barefoot on stage in white pants and white shirt, Kundalini-style, his blonde hair on top of his head, his haunting guitar work in the song, “Jagadeesha,” a song he has described an as invocation, a prayer to divine beings. In a YouTube video, he explained that Jagad is the Sanskrit word for universe and that Isha means Lord. “So you’re calling on the lord of everything,” he says. “Jagadeesha is also in ourselves.”
It was an amazing way to begin the show, red mist and traditional Indian dancers performing as he sang the lyrics, “They speak of a country/ Ever so lovely/ Inside a sound…. Bliss all around.” Those lyrics, he explained in the video, symbolize “that great spirit inviting me to come inside, inside my own self, where the eternal sound is always humming, that eternal sound where all sound comes from…it’s calling me in, calling me inside.”
Trevor Hall has a long history with both music and yoga. He released his first album in his native South Carolina when he was just 16 years old. He left soon afterwards for Idylwild Arts Academy in California where he studied classical guitar. It was at Idylwild that he also discovered yoga and meditation. He went on several pilgrimages to India; in 2010, he met his wife, photographer and yoga instructor Emory Hall, who was studying in India at the time. Emory was just off-stage at the Red Rocks show, slipping on stage to photograph the band.
The Red Rocks show was packed, and standing right next to me were the parents of Trevor Hall’s drummer, Jeff Martin, thrilled to see their son perform at Red Rocks on Father’s Day. They told me that they had given Jeff his first drum set at four, and he’d never stopped. Like Trevor, Jeff comes from a musical family: his father, Jim, plays guitar, and his grandfather played trombone in a military band, Glen Miller-style. Jeff studied music at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and he was a great stylistic match with Trevor Hall.
When Trevor sang his new release, Moon/Sun, Jeff’s mother, Stephanie, let out a whoop. As a teacher, she said that song really struck her, a theme song she has used with her students: “I won’t give up on you/ between the moon and sun/ This life is never done/ I won’t give up on you.” All of Red Rocks had their hands in the air, singing, “I won’t give up on you.” It was an incredibly moving moment, the sun setting behind the high rock walls. On the last song of the set, Trevor Hall’s father, Jeff Hall, a musician and drummer, came out and joined Jeff Martin on the drums, a special Father’s Day appearance, while the traditional Indian dancers returned to the stage, a visually beautiful ending.
Trevor Hall returned to the stage once more, later in the evening to sing with Nhako and Medicine for the People. Nhako was born in Oregon, a mix of Native American, Puerto Rican and Filipino bloodlines, artistic tatoos on his cheeks and throat. The crowd exploded as he and Trevor sang one my favorite songs together, “Tus Pies (Your Feet),” the lyrics inspired by the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Nhako played keyboard, their voices ringing out, “If you call on me/ I’ll come running like a coyote.” Ayla Nereo returned to the stage, the three of them singing together, “I’ll be your lighthouse when you’re out to sea.” It was such a powerful performance, the three luminaries on stage, at Red Rocks, their voices blending powerfully, an incredible night of music, social consciousness and spiritual inspiration.