Trevor Hall, the talented singer/song-writer, gave a knock-out performance at Red Rocks on Father’s Day (June 16, 2019). He performed with Ayla Nereo, one of my favorite contemporary female vocal artists, as well as Nahko 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 a 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 or 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 start to 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 Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, where he studied classical guitar. It was at Idyllwild 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. She says it’s even 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 while singing, “I won’t give up on you.” It was an incredibly moving moment with 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 as a special Father’s Day appearance, while the traditional Indian dancers returned to the stage for a visually beautiful ending.
Trevor Hall returned to the stage once more later in the evening to sing with Nahko and Medicine for the People. Nahko was born in Oregon, and he has a a mix of Native American, Puerto Rican, and Filipino bloodlines. He also has artistic tattoos on his cheeks and throat. The crowd exploded as he and Trevor sang one my favorite songs: “Tus Pies (Your Feet).” The lyrics were inspired by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Nahko played keyboard, their voices ringing out, “If you call on me/I’ll come running like a coyote.” Ayla Nereo then 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 with the three luminaries on stage at Red Rocks, their voices blending powerfully, along with an incredible night of music, social consciousness, and spiritual inspiration.