Known largely for his reggae tracks, local musician Trevor Lyon fell in love with music as a youngster growing up in Napa. His interest evolved slowly, thanks to the influence of everything from hip-hop to top-40 fare.
“In middle school, I’d be listening to the Beastie Boys one minute and the Violent Femmes the next,” said Lyon, who graduated from Vintage High School in 1991. “I was kind of all over the place.”
Today, Lyon is a bass guitarist and vocalist for two local reggae bands. He became a member of Napa’s C.R. Vibes approximately a dozen years ago, and Harvest Soul — a platform for Lyon’s own songwriting undertakings — came together in about 2010, he said. Although he’s also a solo artist, Lyon is big on collaborating with other musicians and groups.
A native Napan, Lyon, 39, is self-taught. He spent his formative years picking up many musical influences from his father, who favored artists including Fleetwood Mac, Huey Lewis, and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
“Growing up, my dad played in a band and I liked some of the same stuff he did,” Lyon said. “And when I got a little bit older, that’s when I started discovering reggae and jazz and listening to my own stuff.”
Lyon spent his teen years getting to know rap. After mastering the acoustic guitar, he started whiling away the hours teaching himself how to play bass. His fondness for reggae, meanwhile, just wouldn’t quit.
“I spent all of my money at the Wherehouse buying tapes,” he said of the now-shuttered music store chain. “I got the most obscure reggae music I could find.”
By about age 21, Lyon was playing local gigs as part of a three-piece Napa band. Named for the cartoon character Popeye’s father, “Poopdeck Pappy” played mostly rock ‘n’ roll cover songs. The band’s setlist came from bands like Sublime and Devo and the group played often at a bar called the Nightcap, which was nestled near Napa Bowl.
“It was fun, we gave a lot and made a couple of bucks,” he said. “That was my first band.”
Lyon has come a long way since his early days in music. In March, he released a self-produced single, “A Fool I Used To Be,” which he recorded from scratch in Napa. Lyon’s other recent studio undertakings include collaborating on hip-hop tracks with other groups. He’s also working on an album, which he said will boast everything from “rock to soul to reggae to hip-hop.”
When it comes to performing live, meanwhile, Lyon said he still gets butterflies before most shows.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I’m a total ham and I love it. As soon as you put me up there, I get a big rush of energy.”
Moving forward, Lyon, who enjoys performing at local venues like the Napa Valley Opera House and Silo’s, is also playing at the three-day Unity Festival on the Russian River on Sept. 13.
Lyon said his future goals include going on tour in New York, Jamaica and Tokyo as a solo artist and performing with Canadian reggae artist Exco Levi. He’s also aiming to book more gigs in San Francisco.
A soccer enthusiast who enjoys spending time with his 4-year-old daughter, Marley, Lyon said he struck out on his own as a solo artist beginning in 2011. That’s also when he decided to pursue music full-time.
“I feel really blessed that I’m able to do this,” he said. “It’s amazing and it’s scary to try to follow your dream and do something you love — but it doesn’t feel like work.”