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Trevor Powers: the talent behind Youth Lagoon

Young musician makes Columbia stop in cross-country tour

September 15, 2011 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Emerging from a musically productive hiatus, Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon has finally completed his first album, The Year of Hibernation. The 22-year-old Boise, Idaho, native, who prefers to write music from the comfort of his own bedroom, has experienced many life changes since signing with Fat Possum Records. As Powers continues on his first national tour, he will visit many cities for the first time, including Columbia, when he performs at Mojo’s tomorrow.

Youth Lagoon, the ambiguous name created by Powers, shows off his age and sparks interest. The solo artist has already gained the attention of many music blogs, including Pitchfork. His alternative sound has multiple inspirations, including musicians of every genre, all of which marinate together to form Youth Lagoon’s refreshing artistic perspective.

Youth Lagoon

WHERE: Mojo's
WHEN: Friday, 8 p.m.
COST: $7
CALL: 875-0588

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Powers explains how some experiences dominate his thoughts and are often the first to come to his mind when he’s making music. While maturing as a musician, he came to understand and share these emotions with
others through his art.

“It can be a scary thing to make yourself vulnerable,” Powers says. “But I’m convinced that we all have something dark or weird that we deal with whether we admit it or not.”

This ability to embrace the darker side of life is precisely what makes Powers different from other musicians. His songs successfully beat adolescent clichés, yet still acknowledge his vulnerability, as noted in one track, “Montana.”

The song begins with a series of slow piano chords accompanied by Powers’ fragile voice. An instantaneous echo slightly muddles the sound, yet his youthful lyrics and simplistic rhythm are still distinctly heard. Suddenly, after the lyrics, “I’ll grow, I will grow,” listeners are led in a new direction. The track builds in fortitude as chimes of a tambourine, guitar and bass drum kick in. His voice gains strength, emphasizing different words on varied beats. “There’s a spirit in Montana and in your chest, a soul,” he sings, this time in a fast and accepting voice that defeats the prior sadness.

The ambiguity of his lyrics allows listeners to interpret his song in multiple ways. There are only eight tracks on Powers’ album, but each one showcases different subjects and sounds. The album was recorded in a four-car garage, which explains the muddled acoustics on the tracks.

Peter McDevitt, the talent buyer for The Blue Note and Mojo’s, booked Powers. Like many, he is interested in Youth Lagoon’s budding music career. “I think that the music is good,” McDevitt says. “If the live show is a good representation of his recorded product, then it’s going to be great.”

With a tour underway and an album set to be released on Sept. 27, Powers acknowledges the responsibility to come.

“I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can,” he says. “Nobody can predict what the coming years hold, so the best thing I can do is enjoy every minute of it.”

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