This Beautiful Chaos
Trevor Gordon Hall
2021 / Trevor Gordon Hall
Review by Kathy Parsons
This Beautiful Chaos is the twelfth album from guitarist/composer Trevor Gordon Hall and contains ten original guitar solos performed on six different guitars (standard acoustic, baritone acoustic, nylon string, high strung guitar, electric guitar and a Portuguese instrument called a viola amarantina). A native of the Philadelphia, PA area, Hall was rated a "Top 30 Under 30" guitarist by Acoustic Guitar Magazine in 2014 and has performed concerts in at least seventeen countries around the world. This Beautiful Chaos was created in the solitude of Hall's Pennsylvania home, and the music was written in the early morning hours while his wife and daughter were still sleeping. Recorded, co-produced, edited, mixed and mastered by Grammy winning Corin Nelsen, the music reflects on many of life's experiences and emotions and provides a reminder that "life is crazy and chaotic, but it is beautiful." Indeed, and music of this stellar quality really helps to keep it that way! Relying on his expressive touch and heartfelt emotion rather than a lot of flashy finger-work to get his point across, Hall communicates so well without needing to "show off."
This Beautiful Chaos begins with "Chase the Chills," a reflective piece that seems to flow freely and directly from the heart to the fingers to the guitar strings. The title track has a similar in-the-moment feeling, sharing gentle philosophical thoughts about life and its many and varied experiences. "Momentum and Meaning" has a fluid rhythm that is constantly changing and moving in different directions - sometimes serious and sometimes more whimsical, much like life itself! "The Presence of Absence" is an intriguing title, and the piece seems to be looking deeply inward, hoping to find an answer. "A Daddy and His Daughter" is a favorite, overflowing with love and innocence. The last minute or so of the piece is more playful and lighthearted, and I can almost hear the giggles of a little girl in there! "Saudade" is another favorite. The title refers to a kind of melancholy yearning that is used as a theme or motif in Portuguese literature and music. The viola amarantina played in this piece is a 10-string guitar with steel strings that give it a bright (but not harsh) sound. "Resolution in Tension" has a darker, more mysterious tone and feeling that I really like. Slow, open and very evocative, Hall says so much with so little in this poignant piece. Something of a mind massage, "At Peace With the Struggle" is an incredibly relaxed and soothing closing piece that leaves you wishing the album would go on forever. Oh well, there's always the "repeat" button, and I've hit it quite a few times already!
This Beautiful Chaos is one of the most beautiful solo guitar albums I've heard this year! It is available from Trevor Gordon Hall's website as well as from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Highly recommended!
December 3, 2021
Review by Kathy Parsons