My body always takes the brunt of my feelings. (The aftermath of a significant loss caused my right eye to twitch uncontrollably. In meetings I was convinced colleagues were distracted by my Quasimodo-ish appearance. I also experienced immense hearing sensitivity. The water hitting the shower pan or hum of the refrigerator drilled painfully into my head.) I often forget I suffer from this strange sensitivity, until countless visits to specialists determine I am not plagued by something terrible, rather it’s merely a stress reaction. Trevor Hall’s new album, “In And Through The Body” helped me realize, before heading down the doctor maze, my newest ailments are just the peculiar way I manifest the chaos around me. Unorthodox approaches are required to heal this bothersome condition. Fortunately, in Hall, I discovered a musical shaman.
The minute, twenty-six second opener, “Blue Sky Mind” initiated the healing ritual. Hall’s prayer-like lyrics are soothing, promising possibilities. “How you gonna get free this time? Falling into a blue-sky mind. Came to me in that song my friend. I just want to go back again. Hey. Mother standing around next to me. Showing me what I need to see. Hey. Rain is falling into my mouth. Flowers blooming all up and down. I’ve found. In and through the body…” His voice is ghostly and meditative, complimented by the repetitive reverberations that mirror a soulful, gospel choir. “Without Expectation” showcases style diversity, mixing folk, bluegrass instrumentals, spoken word and expressive vocal prowess. In the background the earthiness is strengthened by the deeply grounding, murmuring of what could be a cooing mourning dove. The mystical foundations of “Her,” “Never Gonna Break Your Heart,” or “My God” display natural elements contributing further to the curative properties of the tracks. The drumbeats in “Her” are like a light, unexpected but refreshing summer shower. Bees buzzing gleefully echo in the strings of “Never Gonna Break Your Heart.” A vibrant autumn wind howls through the keys in “My God.” In true medicine man fashion, Hall activates his surroundings, the album a lightning rod for growth, understanding, resolution and revitalization. Hall has a uniquely special tone yet there are glimpses of Peter Gabriel, Matisyahu, Ben Harper and Nahko And Medicine For The People. “My Own” is an excellent example of Hall pulling from all these talented influences, combining various genres from rock, reggae, hip hop, and folk.
I’m the epitome of health, but under extreme stress I fall apart. Internalizing the trauma, the bodily sensations overwhelm my being. I need to take to heart the message in “The Old Story” where Hall whispers with sweet, reassuring breaths, “Oh, no, no, no. You just got to let that old story go.” It’s not just that song. In each track, of this exquisitely, complex record, Hall has created medicine for my tormented soul.