"...Creative imagination resides, as well as flourishes within certain artists, and it certainly does so in Trevor Gordon Hall. Ingenuity is something that always causes surprise, and this gentleman’s abilities are totally exceptional..."
Trevor Gordon Hall: Reviews
"...In the genre of intriguing guitar players Trevor really stands out. His music is both soothing and challenging..."
"Trevor is very skilled...his compositions are beautiful, atmospheric, open and heartfelt...I admire him very much...I know he will have so many audiences falling over themselves to see him again and again and I wish him lots of joy in his musical journeys..."
"...Trevor has something very unique, and very special..."
"Fascinating technique and approach."
“Trevor is one of the few post-Michael Hedges guitarists who has managed to incorporate that vast repository of innovation while having an artistic voice strong enough to steadfastly avoid imitation. However technically proficient Trevor is, he is not one of the swarm of guitarists who revel in guitar gymnastics for their sake alone. His technique follows artistic expression as it should. Trevor is capable of a range of styles while having every note seem to express something sincere and meaningful to him. This is a fine debut from a guitarist we will need to pay attention to.”
"...I enjoy listening to Trevor. A very fresh and melodic sounding guitarist..."
“Trevor is a virtuoso. I’ve never seen a guitarist/composer this good at his age. He may not sell a million records (the Christmas album might), but he’ll win a Grammy and do great numbers for his niche. I truly believe Trevor’s career will go on to prove him one of the greatest guitarist/composers of all time.”
“I'm really impressed with the Trevor Gordon Hall music. Besides being beautifully recorded, the compositions and performances are stellar. Trevor's sense of melody is exceptional, and his ability to pull the melody out of a very complex acoustic guitar arrangement requires a powerful technique that few musicians can exhibit these days. This is performed music -not cut up and pasted together- and it is driving, tender and powerful all at once, and points to a great future for Trevor.”
"...Very inventive concept and excellent performance...”
Kalimba guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall plays Chaplin’s:
It is safe to say that 27-year-old Collegeville native Trevor Gordon Hall is the originator of the kalimba style of guitar playing. A dedicated young artist that has the work ethic and musical talent of a seasoned veteran, Hall’s fascination with the combination of the two instruments may prove to be the branding of a style of play unique to Hall.
“I’ve heard that you know something is a really good idea when you can’t believe it hasn’t been done yet,” says Hall. The idea suddenly hit me a couple years ago. I bought a kalimba. I’ve always loved the sound of the kalimba. So I wanted to combine it with the guitar. The kalimba that I bought was super cheap, and it wasn’t very loud, and I was putting it on different surfaces to get it to resonate. I thought, ‘Well, I play acoustic guitar, that’s a hollow body, so that’s got to do something.
“From there the idea just developed. I wasn’t even sure if it would work,” added Hall. “I had to practice months and months without really seeing results. Not only did I have to figure out how to get the instrument working, how to amplify it but also how to have the technique to play it with the guitar. So, for me the whole process was a lot of work, but when I came to the end of it, I felt very, very proud. If it didn’t go anywhere else, I knew that I expanded my own musical vocabulary. It was finishing a marathon. I was very proud of that.”
Having released two albums, “Finding My Way” (2008) and “Let Your Heart Be Light, The Christmas Album”(2009) on Revel Records, “Entelechy” marks the release of Hall’s latest album and his Candyrat Records debut. Produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Nicolo (James Taylor, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan), the album features 13 original Hall compositions that display the articulate and melodic playing of his budding guitar mastery.
“I really enjoy, as an artist, processing my experience of the human experience and just trying to express it,” says Hall. “When someone can really appreciate that, it means a lot to me. I’m just trying to be honest and true to myself. That’s how I feel I will get to the art that really deeply communicates with other people. What is most personal to me will, hopefully, will be most relatable to others.”
In conjunction with its release, the album has been featured on NPR radio and NBC and has made an impressive showing on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts in addition to YouTube Top Commented/Top Favorited/Most Discussed categories.
Hall’s talent has led to him working with bass virtuoso Michael Manring, not to mention opportunities to share the concert stage with such highly regarded guitarists as Peppinio D’Agostino, Phil Keaggy, Alex Skolnick and Don Ross.
In addition to songwriting, recording and performing, Hall is on a personal quest to create the ultimate kalimba guitar. “I’m in the process of building a guitar with Sheldon Schwartz in the Toronto area, and we’re building it from the ground up,” says Hall. “This isn’t just the kalimba attached to the guitar, as much as a kind of guitar built with the whole kalimba in mind. There was someone that installed paper clips on a guitar, but it never went past something like that. As far as playing the guitar with the kalimba melodically in bringing it into a western scale,” added HalI, “I might be heading into some new exciting territory.”
Recognizing the important role that the Internet and social networking now play in the success of an artist, Hall takes this 21st century promotional arm very seriously. “Fans of mine have been posting YouTube videos of me,” says Hall. “That has been a big thrill, and it has allowed me to start developing a fan base here in the United States as well as overseas. That led me to a U.S. tour in May. We did 13 cities here and 19 cities in Canada. Next year I am scheduled to have two weeks in the U.K., some dates in Italy and dates in Austria. The momentum is starting. I hope I can faithfully bring that to the next level.”
“An artist in a performance hall is no more important than the audience members,” says Hall. “I have such respect for people that come to shows that take the time and spend the money. I need to be there prepared. To me, the whole experience is having an interactive relationship with my fans where hopefully they can grow with me and grow through my albums. To me, I find this is just as important as the musician in the whole equation. I have faith in the universe that I haven’t been lead this far to be lead to a cliff. I don’t care if it’s hard. I’m OK with that. I just want to make sure that it’s possible. I don’t need to be making tons and tons of money,” added Hall. “I just want to make a living. I’ll be content if I can build up my market and continue to play for those fans that find a meaningful connection to the music. To me, that is success.”
Hall is asking that people bring non-perishable food item to be donated to a food pantry through St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Phoenixville
Trevor Gordon Hall performs at Chaplin’s Music Cafe, 66 North Main Street, Spring City, PA 19475, this Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance/ $15 at the door and can be purchased by calling 610-792-4110 or on-line at www.chaplinsmusiccafe.com.
Metro News Halifax Entertainment
"Substance over style at no frills boutique label"
When YouTube launched in February 2005 it forever shifted not only the way fans experienced music, but also how artists reached their fans.
One of the first videos to go viral on YouTube belonged to an acoustic guitar musician named Andy McKee, one of the prides and joy of CandyRat Records. It’s an independent American record label and online music store that, according to owner Rob Poland, takes advantage of the Internet era to combat the challenges faced by traditional record companies.
“Record sales industry-wide have been declining every year since 1997, so a low overhead model was key to our survival in this new music industry,” Poland said. “Our focus is on great, original composition primarily composed on the acoustic and electric guitars.”
Enter Trevor Gordon Hall. A Philadelphia-based acoustic guitar player, Hall’s innovation is testament to the calibre of artists that play under CandyRat’s label. Hall will be joined by fellow CandyRat guitarists Owen Van Larkins and Maneli Jamal on Sunday night at The Carleton for CandyRat’s Guitar Night tour stop in Halifax.
“In recent years I’ve been trying to mix finger-style guitar with an African instrument called a Kalimba. It’s been an exploration that’s always evolving,” Hall said in a recent interview.
Hall has successfully expanded his audience and online presence with the help of CandyRat.
“This is the place to be for acoustic guitar so it was nice to land here,” he said. Though the “boutique-style” approach to the business may seem barebones and shady, Hall says the flare and flash that other labels put into image, at CandyRat that goes to the artists.
“It’s all about keeping the focus on the musicianship – there are high quality artists on the roster so I feel absolutely privileged to be with them.
Acousticmusic.com FAME Review:
Well here's something Michael Hedges never thought of. Trevor Gordon Hall, in his Candyrat debut disc, Entelechy (the mysterious fundament driving sentient creatures from potentiality to full existential exaltation, or that embodied final stage itself), has mounted a kalimba on the soundboard of his acoustic guitar so that the sound issuing off the African instrument's tines travels through the guitar body in resonance with the axe's steel strings, lending a richness beyond the exotic finger-piano's norms. And yes, like all the sublimely meta-talented Candyrat artists, Hall plays both simultaneously. Sounds impossible, I know, especially once you've laid an ear to any of the songs here, but travel to his home page (http://www.trevorgordonhall.com/home.html) and you can watch him do it. Unreal.
Unless you've spent an ungodly amount of time honing your craft, arriving at an estate echoing ECM, Windham Hill, Oregon (the group, not the state), and the hallmark new chamber music icons, you can forget trying to get noticed by Candyrat, a label remarkably distinctive. Hall's work is fully formed and mature, entrancing for its melodic content and finger-wrenching acumen (catch some of the chords this guy grabs so fluidly!), but exceedingly naturalistic for all its complexities and shifting flows. Even when waxing a bit abstract, as in the title track, the effect is of wheeling kestrels, windchimes, soft breezes, and melodious happenstance.
This is not to say that Hall can't whip up skirling rondos and zephyrs, he's quite capable of that, but the tone and set of this disc are overarchingly of an antiquarian's pastorally Byzantine craftwork, a small museum of contemplative wonders rather than the blaring shout of the pedestrian ruck. Much delicacy abides, a good deal of interwoven quietude and harmonic richness, but the disc is not without its backbone and sinews as well. And you can see why such work baffles critics and even marketers; it can't be pigeonholed. 'NuInstrumental', 'contemporary instrumental', and so on, but what it really is, is neoclassical, exercises extending what Yepes, Tarrega, and others were doing.
The guitar has always been vilified, the red-headed stepchild of the ever-reactionary conservative realm of classical music. It still is. Go ahead, name me just four major modern classical pieces written with guitar, especially acoustic guitar, as the centerpiece. Ya can't, unless you're a college professor teaching what Eno termed 'dead music', and even then good luck. As far as I can determine, this small body of modern work started with Jansch, Renbourn, Kottke, those cats, and it's unbelievably determined individuals like Hall and fellow Candyratters who have continued the practice most noticeably. Rockers ain't doin' it, jazzbos ditto, even classicalists harsh the gig, but here we have yet another example of the well-tempered, novo-tempered, and supra-tempered guitar manifesting in ways even the six-string sympathizers of yore could only dream of.
PIne Trees and Power Lines
Bach to the Future
That Old Familiar Pain
Outside the wlines
A Severe Mercy
Whenever It Rains
All songs composed by Trevor Gordon Hall.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
One of Candyrat Records stable has opened arms to Trevor Gordon Hall, who seems capable of Michael Hedges-like twist and turns of fret prowess and ingenuity. Time will be the proof, but in the meantime fingerstyle fans are in for a treat as Hall hones, refines, explores and shares his talent. Entelechy marks Hall's 4th official release, which includes a 2009 Christmas CD. Compositionally Hall creates rhythms and grooves that intertwine melodies that are on the order of acoustic soundscapes that often have a therapeutic and hypnotic quality. "Whenever it Rains" represents, perhaps, the best example of these qualities. It is hauntingly subtle and achingly seductive. Close your eyes and you will see the rain steak down your windowpane. Curiously, it is not the guitar that brings Hall all of his notoriety; rather it is the kalimba, a type of African thumb piano that creates vibrations that are incredibly harmonious with the vibrations made by a steel string guitar. Hall explained that the kalimba has been the evolution of an idea for him tracing back to his love of music boxes as a child. He bought a basic kalimba and started messing around with it. In an attempt to increase the volume he eventual mounted the kalimba on the soundboard of the guitar -- Voilà, a unique and resonate dimension suddenly and magically enhanced his ability to weave melody. Limitations of the first kalimba attached to his guitar led to the designing of a two octave chromatic kalimba with the help from a kalimba distributor and a few builders. Hall's kalimba does not dominate Entelechy, like some of the percussive techniques occasionally push fretwork aside. The word ergonomic (if that is possible) seems to sum it up nicely. The kalimba and guitar are simply a comfortable fit. "Kalimbatar", the first track opens the CD with a pulsating groove that allows the kalimba a bit of elbow room and slides the tempo in a different direction until they eventually walk hand into the sunset. One listen -- you'll get it!
He Will Be Famous
By HANNAH BERNSTEIN
Picture this: a single table lamp, incense burning, and against the backdrop of a mural depicting nature in instrumental and musical brushstrokes, guitarist Trevor Gordon Hall invites his audience to journey with him as he questions, "Where do I go from here?"
On November 7, Hall celebrated his first official debut performing at Rock and Roll After School with an array of musical selections released in his CD entitled Finding My Way. This on-the-rise musician is a recent college graduate who has written numerous pieces artistically expressing deep philosophical ideas as well as the reasoning of his own personal debate between doubt and faith. "My music grows with me," says Hall, "starting from when I was about ten, the different stages I went through in life began being reflected in my music with a punk rock phase and death metal phase. My own personal growth has been the force behind what I do with each different style of music."
Striving to simply be the best musician he can, Hall has dedicated much of his time honing his skills as a guitarist, and has effectively discovered how to utilize his instrument to serve as a voice and method of expressing himself. Revel Music recently signed him as a solo artist with nine-time Grammy Award winner Joe Nicollo. Hall adds, "This has been an amazing experience. As an introvert I find complete strength in solitude and as a soloist I can bring that to my music."
Although he is always aware of his limitations on the guitar, he nevertheless wants to be able to express his philosophical perspectives through music. He has beautifully recorded the journey this stage of his life is taking. "For me it's been very different trying to reconcile what happens after graduating college and dealing with the existential meaning of life. I hope that people will be able to find life in my music. The music that I write holds such a deep meaning for me and my hope is that my listeners experience the same thing." The innovative musician has discovered the limits of his instrument and seems amused in finding unlimited ways to stretch it.
This Rock and Roll After School instructor plays his non-lyrical art with such precision that the complex finger work seems almost effortless. "It's hard to explain what genre it is, so I often call it experiential or experimental. Sometimes I ask other people to just listen to it and decide for themselves what it is and I like that it can't be strictly classified as one specific thing." He has written several songs that crescendo into a melodic chaos symbolic of the tumultuous processing of the brain, yet each creative melody is distinct as he builds on top of the other. After harmoniously blending them together, he fades into a quiet reverie kept pace with a steady "heartbeat." He is communicative while piercing the minds and souls of his audience. "Just because you don't have words to work with doesn't mean you can't say something," he explains.
In lieu of the holiday season, Hall will be releasing a Christmas album December 1 and both his CDs are available for purchase online wherever music is sold. Hall shares, "I feel like my gift for writing comes to me through my one instrument, but I would like to extend it to more than one someday and write for an orchestra. I love doing everything and anything related to music though, so I'm open to whatever the future has for me!"
"Sharp, absorbing and beautiful meditations for guitar that will get your mind moving in new ways."