‘It wasn’t his time to go’
Some things are meant to be.
Jerel Dutton is the unlikely survivor of a horrific automobile accident with two friends while on a surfing trip in Mexico Thanksgiving weekend.
The two friends are back at school at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dutton, who has been hospitalized ever since the wreck, comes home this weekend.
“It’s a miracle,” said his friend and fellow Whittell High School graduate Cory Lobato. “It wasn’t his time to go. Somebody was definitely looking over the three of them that were in that vehicle.”
Dutton will attend a Trevor Hall’s concert Sunday, March 27, in the MontBleu Theatre. A singer-songwriter, Dutton, 23, is expected to address the crowd and perhaps even sing a song. General admission tickets are $12, unusually and intentionally inexpensive for a national-touring artist such as Hall, said promoter Paul Reder. It is hoped people choose the option to buy $17 tickets, with $5 from each going to a fund to help pay for Dutton’s astronomical medical bills.
“Jerel’s coming home either in a wheelchair or on crutches – we’re hoping for crutches,” Lobato said. “He could make a full recovery. Every day he’s making great strides but a lot is unknown. Each day he’s making very good progress and is on schedule with where the doctors and nurses say he’s supposed to be with the head injury.
“His short-term memory is really good. All the surgeries are done until we get down to the prosthetics. His voice is getting stronger and stronger each day. The family is just overwhelmed with the outpouring of this community. When it’s one of ours, this community always stands up.”
Nearly 1,000 Tahoe residents attended a Jan. 15 benefit in MontBleu’s convention center for Dutton.
Track coach and community organizer Anthony Davis helped with the entertainment portion of the event. He said Jerel’s father, Lance, was his first work supervisor 23 years ago when he moved to the lake. Davis later coached Dutton at Kingsbury Middle School.
“Jerel is the most heart-warming kids you could ever meet,” Davis said. “He’s respectful, athletically and musically inclined and very smart. He’s an overall good person who loves life. I’m pretty sure we’re still going to hear music from him for decades to come.”
Reder spoke with Jerel about Sunday’s event.
“He will address the community at some point,” Reder said. “He is really excited to be able to express his gratefulness. He worked for us at Caesars back in the day.”
Hall’s music can be hauntingly emotional and will be most appropriate for the event, Reder said.
“I’m a huge fan of people like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson and G. Love and he has that quality that is rare,” he said. “The singer-songwriter quality that fans have responded to. But he has his own style. If you took Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and then you had a baby with Bob Marley, you’d get Trevor Hall.”
Hall really did come from a musical family. His father is a drummer.
“Ever since I was a young boy I remember always being into music, exploring my father’s record collection,” Hall told Lake Tahoe Action. “Earth Wind & Fire, the Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers and all types of classic rock. Then I got into Bob Marley and reggae music.”
Hall played his guitar every day after school, and his parents invested in their son’s passion, sending him in his high school years to Idyllwild Arts Academy near Los Angeles.
“Kids from all around the world were there, Asian, African, European,” Hall said. “I’ve seen how different cultures express themselves and how art is a universal language. It opened my eyes and really helped me become a better musician and just a better artist in general. There was so much creativity going on there, it really helps with my songwriting and in my craft.”
Hall has recorded albums since 2004. In July he will release “Everything, Everytime, Everywhere.”
“It has all types of different genres,” Hall said. “There’s reggae, rock, and there’s kind of a hip-hop element. We’re doing all sorts of things and somehow it all came together quite nicely.”
Hall’s most emotional song, “The Lime Tree,” has gone viral on the Internet. He declined to reveal the song’s inspiration.
“I’ve had so many people ask me but I kind of keep that to myself,” he said. “Please don’t take offense. I want that to be theirs. I don’t want to paint a picture and have it not be their vision.”
Hall’s Tahoe show will be the final stop on a month-long tour.
“It’s real nice to have it happen at the same time (as Dutton’s homecoming),” Hall said. “I’m looking forward to that. I’m glad that he will be able to come home and see everybody. It will be nice.”
Reder said he felt shivers hours after he signed Hall to play at MontBleu. “The only people who knew I had booked Trevor Hall for that weekend were me, Trevor and Trevor’s agent,” Reder said.
At his desk, Reder noticed an Internet post. Before he went into a life-threatening, 10-hour surgery, Dutton put up a song on his Facebook page: “The Lime Tree.”
Some things are meant to be.
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