Music is universal-it’s one of the few things that can connect people across language barriers and cultural divides. There are no set guidelines for enjoying any particular kind of music, no restrictions based on culture or religion or social rung.
And it’s in this communal aspect that music is able to draw people together in their love of particular artists and sounds. When it comes to using and seeing music as viable connective tissue between people, singer-songwriter Trevor Green has an almost-preternatural understanding of how best to use sound to bring out the smallest details in the world around us.
Green’s music is inundated with ideas of spirituality and how the smallest actions on our part can cause widespread reverberations in our environment. He uses his music as the means to examine and dissect what it means to live and function in our hurried world. Shaped in large part by the fact that he was adopted by a Navajo family, his perspective is molded by the voices of the Native American people who’ve long since passed away. His stage often consists of multiple guitars, didgeridoos and percussive instruments that are often decorated with ancestral artwork. He also enlists the help of Native American grass dancers to perform during his sets.
Green is set to self-release his fifth record, “Voice of the Wind,” March 15, and through it, he continues to share his musical and spiritual experiences, and the resulting insight he has gained from each. By using his own journey as a steppingstone for the personal advances made by his listeners, Green turns his life into a sort of intimate template of how you can successfully integrate the spiritual and physical aspects of your life into a single coherent viewpoint.
And with the release of “Red Road,” the latest single from “Voice of the Wind,” Green lays everything bare and allows us easy access to every inch of the experiences he’s willing to share. The song isn’t threadbare by any stretch, but it does feel like an oddly minimalist space that’s ready to be filled with our own intentions and conscious decisions.
There’s also a tangible sense of history threaded throughout “Red Road,” but don’t let the acoustic casualness of the music dissuade you from paying rapt attention to Green’s pointedly optimistic plea. Taking its name from a concept of living a good and spiritual life (derived from a handful of different Native American teachings), the song itself is a brief exploration of the steps necessary to maintain this equilibrium with your surroundings, whether that’s the natural environment or simply the people around you.
Buoyed by Green’s involving guitar work, the song is fluid but stable, developing a sort of mercurial melody that rises and falls with each breath he takes. The shuffling percussive shake provides a wonderfully nuanced framework on which to hang this charged acoustic landscape. And while you’re busy being amazed by the inclusive nature of the track in general, you might just absorb some of Green’s goodwill as a byproduct. There’s nothing preachy or heavy-handed here-although that could easily have been the case. Green gradually reveals the words by which he lives, each syllable accompanied by subtle shifts in the sound of his guitar-and we’re presented with an equally sincere assurance that these ideas can be applied to anyone, regardless of who they are.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.