The first time
Hall has essentially realized his Boyz II Men shower fantasy, albeit with a very different sound. The gruff singer-songwriter, with a bushy beard and imposing yet captivating stage presence while yielding his trusty guitar, has made a name for himself in the San Diego region has a formidable purveyor of blues, soul and Americana tunes. “It’d be as if Jimi Hendrix, Alice in Chains, and Johnny Cash did a collaborative project,” he says of his unique sound. It’s a combination that has elevated Hall to stand-out status at venues around the area, including Solana Beach’s Belly Up, where he’ll be next be seen on July 24 opening for The Teskey Brothers.
In addition, he also booked an upcoming slot at Del Mar’s massive KAABOO music festival this coming September. It’s a coup he calls the proudest moment of his career thus far. “It's a big deal to me because a ton of my heroes are on the bill,” Hall says, alluding to music superstars ranging from the Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant, Billy Idol, Incubus and the aforementioned Alice in Chains who will all roll into North County for the festival.
Exactly how Hall wound up as part of the bill occured “the old school way,” as he puts it: the result of a grind that saw Hall perform four to six shows per week on average for the past five years. “I didn’t win a contest or get referred,” he said. “I was discovered by someone high up in the KAABOO organization at one of my regular gigs and got a real offer shortly thereafter. It felt like Cinderella... with a beard.”
It was in fact the Chief Brand Officer for KAABOO that saw Hall at San Diego’s Prohibition Speakeasy and left his card, no doubt impressed by Hall’s bluesy prowess. It’s a talent he developed through not just musical know-how, but an ability to capture a feeling. “I catch feels from various events, interactions and vibes and put them into musical progressions. The melodies and lyrics come after,” Hall says of his process. “I will freestyle a song numerous times live before settling on the best-fitting lyrics and melodies. A lot of times, I won't realize where the music came from until the lyrics and lines start coming. Then it all comes together.”
Feeling is such an important part of Hall’s creativity that he says his entire show and sound is constructed around the concept. “My band gets tired of my talking about the feels I'm sure.”
Aside from his plum upcoming gigs, Hall is also riding high on “Tomorrow,” his newest single which recently received the music video treatment, created in tandem with Oceanside’s Cinematic Art and Sound. “At face value it's about spending time with someone and being in the moment so deep you slow down time together and you realize that and don't want to leave,” he says of the track. “The deeper message is not to forget to enjoy all little special moments and be as present as possible.”
It’s a lesson he’ll have to keep in mind in the following months, no doubt a key time in a career on the rise-- including the Belly Up gig this month. “It’s so far my favorite place to play in San Diego,” he said. “There is some kind of magic I feel every time I step through its doors.”
For more information on the July 24 show at the Belly Up (doors open at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.), visit bellyup.com.