Trevor Hall counts as major influences Ben Harper and Bob Marley and one might reason that, by extension, the lad has probably listened to a little Dave Matthews here and there and one can also reason that the 24-year-old isn’t afraid to wear those influences on his sleeve(s). Trouble is that although his points of inspiration come across loud and clear on this often over-produced 11-song mish-mash, the real Trevor Hall seems hard to find.
The first full-fledged track on Everything Everytime Everywhere, “The Return”, is maddening in its derivative-ness, sounding like any indistinct reggae-inflected artist you’d hear at some second-tier Midwestern music festival while you’re standing in line for the bathroom or a slice of pizza bound to send you straight to the former. You can almost smell the third-tier Ganja waft across the room as Hall and Co. work the track end to end. There are moments in the number where the young singer-songwriter almost posits some nifty vocal lines and emotes with conviction. But it’s largely washed away by platitude-laden lyrics rife with torn hearts, wrongs done, and a homecoming, sung in a cadence that drips with an inauthenticity that threatens to destroy what are occasionally honest and earnest sentiments.
Contrast that with “Brand New Day”, which sounds like it was mixed to be blasted in Best Buy and/or FM radio but retains little of the character—what there is of it, anyway—established in “The Return”. Hall does such a fantastic job of shedding his influences here that he almost completely sheds his own identity in an apparent bid for airplay and other commercial recognition. “Fire”, on the other hand, is a kind of jacked-up Red Hot Chili Peppers tune that finds neither a convincing groove nor manages to cement Hall’s identity, guest appearance from Jamaican songstress Cherine Anderson be damned.
And the album’s midway point? “Different Hunger”? It’s an unnecessarily long meander that may go down better live than it does on record, something that can be said for much of Everything Everytime Everywhere. To be fair, Hall has garnered considerable buzz as a live performer and his track record speaks for itself—opening slots with Jimmy Cliff, Michael Franti, John Butler Trio, and sojourns with Matisyahu—suggesting that a record might give one a rather limited picture of the youngster’s capabilities.
But the real question here is not so much whether Hall has the goods to be a performer, writer and recording artist of note but rather when he’ll make a record that is truly indicative of his powers in those arenas. Everything Everytime Everywhere is too diffuse and meandering to make that claim; it skips from one place to another with such rapidity that locating its soul proves a nearly impossible task. Until those elements come together your time and money is perhaps better spent catching Hall on the festival circuit or in clubs than trying to pin him down on record—something that can only work for so long before it wears away at an otherwise promising career.
// Notes from the Road
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