Trevor Green’s music is wonderfully spiritual and hypnotic. With his droning didgeridoo and chanting lyrical style you would be mistaken if you thought this artist was from the Southern Hemisphere but although the simulates to a certain Xavier Rudd are evident Trevor follows a parallel path in the Northern Hemisphere championing Native American people as opposed to Aboriginal. His music is powerful and enigmatic but personable and alluring. After hearing the title track from his new studio album “Voice Of The Wind” and seeing him play a weissenborn i was very excited to talk to Trevor about his experiences with the instrument.
Trevor, who’s is the haunting voice we hear at the beginning of the track, and what language is it?
“I was adopted into a Navajo family years ago and the prayer spoken in the intro is my adopted mother. She is speaking Native Navajo language. It was a prayer she offered as a blessing for the recording. It was sent to me by my nephew via phone and we didn’t think then that it was going to be used on the recording but as I listened to it more and more I felt it was something that needed to be heard and with her blessing, we made it the opening prayer on the record”.
Where was the video shot?
“We shot the music portion of the video on the Oregon Coast just outside of the Oregon Dunes. The faces were shot in different locations”.
Who were all the people that feature in the video?
“The people featured in the video are friends and family. We shot a total of 80 people and did our best to get them all in there. It started as an idea to help bring forward the human experience as an individual experience as well as one that we are all familiar with. It was an incredibly healing experience for everyone and I feel honored and blessed that so many shared their hearts for this video”.
Whats the tuning on the track?
“The tuning on the track is C#G#C#C#G#C#”
What weissenborn do you play in the videos?
“The Weissenborn played in the video is a Superior Lap Slide. It was gifted to me by my mother years ago”.
It looks well worn and very slim on the neck to be hollow all the way, and did i spot two jacks sockets?
“Yes it’s been with me for many years…it is thin and still hollow all the way through. I like the thin wood as I think it helps the guitar vibrate more and produce a richer tone. I do have two pickups put in it which I run separately…one in the sound hole that I use more for effects and one inside the guitar to replicate more the acoustic tone of the instrument”.
What pick ups are you using?
“The sound hole is a Seymour Duncan Mag Mic which sounds close to the Sunrise but I’ve found the low end to be a bit better. The other is a K&K contact pickup that I have inside”.
When did you first discover the weissenborn?
“I first discovered the Weissenborn watching David Lindley in concert years ago. I was amazed by the tone and amount of sound that came off the guitar as well as the sustain that he was getting. I fell in love with it immediately”.
And was the addition of the Weissenborn to your instrument arsenal a recent venture?
“I first started playing lap slide style around 2002. The first song I wrote and recorded on it was the title track from the 2006 ‘Wake’ Album as well as “Whispering Winds”.
Did you take to the instrument easily?
“I loved the instrument immediately after hearing it. Shortly after that I was at the Folk Music Center in Claremont and they had a couple original Weissenborns on the wall and once I played them I had to have one. Playing it felt really natural. I really liked how the sound was being amplified toward me, as opposed to away from me like a normal acoustic guitar”.
Is there any advice you would give a someone thinking of experimenting with a weissenborn as a songwriting tool?
“I would say just let the instrument speak. In some ways it’s a very simple instrument and in other ways it’s very complex. I think the power in the instrument is in the simplicity that it offers…I think it’s like any instrument and the more you let it speak the more it will open up”.
This track is the title track from the new album “Voice Of The Wind” so is there any other weissenborn featuring on the album?
“Yes, the opening track is the title track played on the lap slide and the closing track ‘Open Minds’ is also played on the lap slide”.
Have you used the instrument on your other albums, i understand this new album is your sixth studio album?
“Yes I’ve recorded with it on every album so far…I like to do a few songs on each album with the Weissenborn. I have always liked the intimacy the instrument offers so most songs that come out of it are in that realm which always find a place somewhere on the records”.
Now i mean this is the best way possible and most certainly as a compliment, but the similarities between you and a certain Xavier Rudd are very strong to the casual listener. Is this resemblance purely accidental because you are both hugely spiritual singer/song writers championing a minority culture cause or are you a fan of the man. Have you ever met or played the same event?
“Yes, I love what Xavier is bringing forward and the work that he is doing through his music. He has certainly been inspirational for me and my musical journey and has helped to pave the road for intentional artists like ourselves to reach a larger audience. We did have a chance to meet briefly years ago. I respect what he stands for. I have always gravitated to music that comes from a place of truth and self reflection…music that elicits change and brings forth healing. Musically I think it’s tricky to separate a solo artist that plays the didgeridoo as well as the guitar. As for our connection to our respective indigenous cultures, my adoption into my Navajo family came organically and quite unexpectedly, and has become a part of my story and brought a great deal of healing into my life”.
How would you best describe your music to the uninitiated?
“I had someone recently describe it as Earth Music…but to be honest it’s been tough to describe over the years. I think it reaches lots of different spaces sonically and because of that it’s not so easy to put in a category it seems”.
I am assuming that you are American and not Australian? The lines seem so blurred on this album for a new comer to your music. Copious amount of didgeridoo and bare foot stomp boxes must sometimes lead to similar assumptions.
“:) Yes I am American…before we began recording this record, we toured Australia and while there we received an invite by Galpu Clan elder Djalu Gurruwiwi. In our time with them I was amazed at the similarities that were shared between them and the Native American culture. They are very in touch with the spirit of the land and the energies of their natural world…so I think when music channels earth energy it can carry indigenous energies from all corners of the globe”.
Where does this deep rooted affinity towards Native American people stem from?
“Years ago I met my adopted brother Buddy Silversmith of the Navajo nation. He came out on the road with me for a tour and helped out and we began to discover a deep friendship. After sharing lodge and spending time with him and the family out on the reservation I was adopted into his family. It was a world that I never knew. I grew up with no knowledge of reservation life and when I saw it my life changed. It’s an incredibly beautiful culture with a powerful story”.
Are you deliberately and consistently championing the cause of Native American people through your music, would you call yourself an activist?
“I don’t think of it as a deliberate cause as much as it is just a part of my individual experience. I have a deep passion for healing and earth energy and so my music is an extension of this belief system which is why I think the native culture resonates with me. It’s an honor to witness the beauty and the struggle of the native story. They carry codes of wisdom that I feel are crucial for the progress of our planet. I think these energies are coming up at this time and are a necessary part of healing the wounds inflicted upon their people as well as moving us forward as a more united and conscious society. I do stand strong in the belief that indigenous cultures must be recognized before we can begin to address the pain and struggle that they have endured”.
What are you short term plans and long term musical goals?
“My short term goals are to tour the new record here in the states and it looks like we may be headed to Australia as well as Asia in the coming months. The long term goals are to continue writing and collaborating. I’ve been working on lots of new material for the next record and I’m excited for that. I also have had requests for a live record as well as an instrumental record which sounds really fun to do. So lots to come”!
Thank you Trevor for talking to us at “The Exchange” and all the very best in the future.
“Thanks Aron…Look forward to catching up down the line! Blessings”!