Hot spot: Rooster sits down with Trevor Hall
Trevor Hall has been a busy man over the past year and a half. After taking a hiatus in the depths of Vermont and Maine, he surprised his fans with a brand new album "Chapter Of The Forest" on June 17th. Now he is hopping on the tour bus with Michael Franti, SOJA, and Brett Dennen for a yoga and music combination festival.
You took a year long hiatus during the creation of the songs on this album. Was it that you needed to step away from music like this to come to fruition? What kind of freedom does a hiatus like this give you?
Well, when I took the hiatus, I wasn’t really thinking about the music at all. I was just really burnt out from being on the road and the whole job part of being a musician. It started to make me really upset and tired all of the time. So for the first time in ten years I had to just say stop. And at that point it was really scary because I had never done something like that before so I didn’t know, like am I going to come back? But as time went on, the records started coming together so I knew that given the right amount of time, yeah this record could happen. I didn’t really take the break to make the record, I just took the break because I was so tired.
Do you absorb energy from the artists you are performing with on this tour? How does touring with them inspire you or push you further?
Definitely. I’m a super sensitive person, you know. I soak up my surroundings and who I’m with. And my wife and I were laughing because these guys are total rockstars. We are so out of our league! They’ve got the tight pants and the suspenders, they come out of the bus in the morning and their hair is still crazy, and they are still in the same clothes as the night before. But then they get up there and they rock it every night. They’re having so much fun, they’re having a blast. They make it so much fun, and I think that’s the main thing I’m soaking up now. You can tell they don’t take it for granted, you know? I think that has rubbed off on me. Like, hey man, smile, remember where you are and what you’re doing.
You’ve been to Colorado before, quite a few times actually. What brings you back to the square state so often?
Well I think out of everywhere in the states, Colorado is our best…I don’t want to say market because that sounds, you know, weird. But that’s where we have the best shows. I mean, those are our biggest shows. Whenever we come to Denver or Boulder we are able to sell out, and that’s super good for us and I’m super thankful for that. It’s funny because we can sell out Boulder Theatre and then the next night we will be in some city where there is like, 30 people there. We were really blessed because the people really have taken to the music.
The release of the new album was so sudden. Why did you choose to hold out for so long and then surprise your fans?
Well, we were on this SoulShine tour when we knew we wanted to release it, but no one really knew what we were working with, not even I knew what we were working with. Then the label had the idea of a kind of sporadic release and I was kind of like, “I don't know, I want to let everyone know.” But as time went on, the idea became kind of fun for me. So I decided to have fun with it and put out a few teasers but not say anything, and just see what happens. I don’t think anyone was thinking it would be a better sales tactic, we just wanted to have fun
Why did you choose to join on the Soulshine Tour after staying off of the road for a while?
I was nervous coming back, and this tour is not a small tour. Month and a half, it’s a massive tour. But we were able to split a bus with SOJA, and we are usually in a van eating not the best food. But we are really good friends with them and when they reached out to do that, it helped a lot. But mainly, these guys are my friends, you know? I knew it would be a good spirited, family tour. Who wouldn’t want to tour with a bunch of your friends, right?
People gravitate towards your music, in part because of how connected you seem to be it. In this album, that idea is portrayed again. What makes this new album so personal to you?
Well that’s a good question because this album, for me, is a very “healing” album. When I took that break I was kind of in a dark spot, just with music because the job part was taking over. Oh, you gotta get that single, you know, you gotta get on the radio, where’s it at on the charts. All of those things were eating my natural love for song. And also, this record I did pretty much all on my own. I wasn’t working with anyone and I was writing it all on my own. It 100 percent came from my own heart. But I’m a listener as well, so I listen to my songs and these songs are really playing to me. I wasn’t writing the songs and saying I hope people like it. I was writing these songs because they were helping me heal. This album was strictly about my love for music an it’s healing aspects.
Legendary acts have graced the Red Rocks stage throughout it’s history. How big of an honor is it to play there?
Oh, it’s crazy man. I remember the last time I played there with John Butler Trio. I got on stage and got off stage and I don’t remember playing a song. My mind was lost and I was just looking up at those rocks. I was thinking about all of the bands that have played there and you have that wall of people looking down at you. I mean, it’s like the throne of God up there. So to have another opportunity to play there is amazing. Anytime someone says “Red Rocks”, you know, your family wants to fly out, your friends want to fly out, it’s not a small thing.
If you had to describe the new album in one sentence, how would you do it?
I don’t know what it does for everyone else, but this album is the healing album, for sure.
You have spoken before about the struggle with music being your job, rather than your love. What is your relationship with music at this point?
Well, it’s interesting because when I took the break I was like when I come back is it going to be the same? Am I coming back to the same thing, or did I learn something? But this tour that we’re on, you know, God kind of arranged it perfectly for me. We’re all family, you know? I was able to arrange a tour bus which helps for sleep, and Michael’s (Franti) really into yoga so there is that aspect too. Everyone is super health-conscious and we play these amazing outdoor venues so I’m not in like, a grimy club or something. It’s been a big blessing to come back in this way because it feels like I’m coming back in a very gradual way. There are still those things though, you know, music is still my job. I’m still learning, I think I’ve gotten better at it, but I’m still learning how to balance it out. I’m just trying to enjoy it and not worry about the job aspect of it too much. All of that stuff will fall into place. It’s always a learning thing and I’m on that journey.
What should concert-goers on Sunday be ready for?
Every show has just been so action packed. You’ve got the yoga in the day, with Michael playing an acoustic set, and it should be a really beautiful place to practice. So you get this great, healthy say in, and then at night you just let loose and have a blast. It’s super cool because we’re all kind of similar musicians but we’re not. Everybody brings a different piece to the table. I don't want to give too much away, but Michael is full of surprises. It’s going to be awesome to see all that different music coming together in one night.