Spirituality is something that may popular musicians try to stay away from in order to not alienate the mass public. Many times, music that has a spiritual tinge will be mashed up in the "Christian Rock" genre and won't get the recognition it deserves as accessible music. Trevor Hall doesn't have a problem putting his spirituality out there in his music and delivering a new, full length album of heartfelt and personal songs. It is self titled for a reason, because Hall wears his heart, his spirituality, and his world view right there on his sleeve and depicts his outlook through each and every song on the album. Veteran producer Marshall Altman worked the knobs on this release which included guest appearance by Matisyahu, who co-wrote a version the lead single "Unity," and Colbie Caillat who appears on a revamped, chilled out version of the Trevor's classic "The Lime Tree." Other highlights include "Who You Gonna Turn To," "Origami Crane," and "Where's The Love." To date, it's Hall's best, but it's surely not his last.
Rebelution gained so much success on the heels of their previous album that it is hard to wonder if they could follow up with an equally good effort. Well, the wait is over, and surely Rebelution has delivered. This album has more of what the last broguht in terms of the reggae rock sound, however it is more polished and seems to be more musical. Their roots rock vibe is still evident and you can tell by the way they play their instruments that their sound is born of live music and their studio recordings showcase their live feel well. It's fair to say that there are more radio friendly tracks on this album, and could help the band gain more widespread success in the alternative community. They are not quite as alternative as 311, harder edged and less punk than Sublime, and certainly a lot more high energy than Bob Marley. But, the mix of some of the best elements of all three of those artists will help this album gain the steam it needs and recognition it deserves to make Rebelution as popular.
The world can become suffocated with the sameness of the singer/songwriter, but Chase McBride won't allow himself to fall into that trap. His music is fresh and organic. His voice is not indistinguishable and he doesn't try to emulate any other musicians. Sure you can draw comparisons to many laid back artists that are out there but there's just something about McBride that is one step ahead of the norm. With only 5 tracks on his debut EP, he certainly whets the whistle for more. Fans of Dispatch and State Radio will surely see the comparison to Chad Urmston's vocal prowess and fans of acoustic surf music ala Jack & Donavon will certainly be instant fans. Key tracks include "1937" and "When The Wicked Go To Sleep"
This album will put Gregory Alan Isakov on the indie folk map. He has always been kind of under the radar, but with this new album, which features a guest appearance by Brandi Carlile (who appears on a cover of "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong"), he has elevated his game. Musically it is much more full than his previous releases, without alienating the core of his sound which is acoustic folk. The mellowness and slowness of the songs are still there. He has not turned into a pop star by any means, but several of the songs on this album can be considered to be much more accessible to a mass audience than his previous releases. Isakov poured his heart and soul into this work, once again, and has delivered a solid collection from beginning to end. Some tracks to take note of are "Evelyn" and "That Moon Song."
Perhaps this EP is just a tease for bigger, better things. Trey Lockerbie's debut solo effort is truly a masterpiece and definitely deserves a listen. It's a shame that it's only 3 songs long. Trey has spent many years helping out his friends by playing in their live bands and on their albums and it's about time that he shows what he's really made of. Hopefully with more to come, Lockerbie's debut EP is just a prelude to a wonderful career as a front man. Standout tracks include the title track and "Criminal."