The 12 songs on Chapter of the Forest were born during a yearlong sabbatical where Hall returned to his beloved India, Nepal, Vermont, and Maine, and spent that time in deep reflection and spiritual connection embracing life-altering events.
In his own words, Hall tells his story of his journey that led to the creation of Chapter of the Forest:
“As a lot of you know, I started touring and performing around the age of 16. You may laugh at this, but I actually never “wanted to be a musician.” I never said, “When I grow up, I want to play music for people.” Music just “was” and “is”. It is my love, my way of listening, my way of prayer, my way of simply being. I never looked upon it as a job in those early stages …
As time went on, though, it did become my job, and the reality of that began to take a toll on me. The pressures and responsibilities that one inevitably faces as a professional musician began to smother that pure and child-like spirit that playing music had always connected me to. I slowly lost the ability to access that internal space, until eventually music became simply my job. And that made me angry, sad, depressed – all kinds of things. “How did it get like this?” was the question I kept asking myself.
It was at this point, after 8 years of touring around the country continuously, when I finally decided that I needed to stop. It was one of the hardest and scariest decisions of my life. The fear of the unknown gripped me – I didn’t know how long I would be gone for, or if I would ever want to come back after stepping off the stage – yet it seemed like the only thing I could do at that moment.
It was just before I made this difficult decision that my angel came along. This woman would become my partner, my best friend and my wife. It was through this meeting, through the merging of the rivers of our lives, that the healing truly began.
Soon after my break from touring began, my wife and I packed a few simple possessions and retreated to the forests of Vermont and the northern woods of Maine. There we buried our feet, hands, heads and hearts into our Mother Earth … Listening to and learning from Her Great Song. One of my many spiritual guides, Sri Ramakrishna, taught that one cannot live in the world continuously. Rather, it is necessary for the human spirit to retire into solitude from time to time and think of God, whether it be to a forest or even the corner of a room. This could be for an hour, a day, months, or years. With Sri Ramakrishna’s words in mind, we left the concrete jungle behind and began a new chapter in both of our lives …
So there I was, away from the noise of city and suburban life, in Mother’s blanket of silence, watching the rain and the wind, watching leaves fall … just listening to everything around me. This silencing and reconnecting gave birth to many poems, which I eventually began to put to music. While in retreat, I found myself writing more, picking up my guitar frequently - not because I felt I had to , but because I was beginning to be able to reconnect through my music with that original spirit that I was afraid I had lost.
My meditation on and within the forests of the northeast brought back many memories of forests and quiet places that I had … Read More