Singer-songwriter Trevor Hall says his music is often categorized as “spiritual” or focused on love as a virtue, but he has sometimes felt like he wasn’t allowed to express his frustration or anger because that wasn't what was expected of him as an artist.
Bearing that in mind, Hall’s latest single, “Fire on Your House,” marks a stylistic departure from much of his repertoire. He says it comes from his nearly two decades in the music industry and the hurt and pain that can come from people who take advantage or don’t have an artist’s best interest at heart. He wrote the song a few years ago but just released it this month.
“I was a little bit nervous to take that step,” the Boulder artist says. “But it was something that needed to happen in regard to a healing for myself — but also to remind people that I’m a human being and I have all sorts of different emotions and need to express them.”
“Fire on Your House” isn’t representative of Hall’s upcoming album, In and Through the Body, due out later this year; still, he says, the new record also explores different aspects of what it means to be human. It’s an evolution for him as an artist, a journey outside of his oeuvre, but also a step inside himself.
“I’ve always written from a place of abstractness,” he says. “All my songs in some way had a dreamlike quality, and I tended to kind of push away from my own human emotions. I felt like they weren’t as worthy as these higher ideals I had in my head.”
He says his songwriting has been guided the past few years by different people he has met — “high spiritual beings,” as he calls them.
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“It’s not like they had wings or anything,” he says. “They were so human and so loving and so honest in all their emotions. That really touched me, and I’ve been meditating on that. These songs kind of explore more of that aspect of myself, all types of different emotions — anger, joy, loss, love. All these things I wouldn’t normally write about.”
COVID-19 has put the kibosh on much of the live-music scene this year. Hall says he has mixed feelings about it, because it’s been hard on many people in the industry. At the same time, the 33-year-old has toured constantly for the past fifteen years, so he has also appreciated the opportunity to take a pause.
“It’s been really amazing for me to get into a regular routine — take a breath and take a step in and have time to reflect or work on things I wouldn’t normally get to work on," he says. "I’m taking care of my body, eating home-cooked food, that type of thing.”
Hall was busy on Tuesday finalizing the artwork on the upcoming album, but also preparing for his live-stream concert that takes place Saturday night at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. The show, called A Night in the Village, spotlights Hall solo on stage, with a projector to show different visuals. Saturday marks his first time on stage in quite a while, and he's looking forward to the challenge of playing to what amounts to an empty venue.
“I get to really tell a story, which is something I love to do, and kind of give the stories from different songs that show pictures of where they were inspired or the people who inspired them. It’s very much a visual concert as much as it is a sonic concert.”
Hall says the show was meant to happen several months ago but was canceled after the death of George Floyd and the subsequent worldwide protests and calls for defunding police departments.
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“We didn’t feel it was appropriate at that time to do the concert,” he says. “We were kind of in a place of listening. We were trying to respect the situation and not take anything away from the situation.”
The concert is free to watch, but Hall is soliciting donations for Color of Change, a nonprofit civil-rights advocacy organization that emerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We did some research and came upon Color of Change,” he says. “We just really admired everything they’re doing in their communities and for the country and the world at large. We thought it would be an appropriate organization to help out in any way we could.”