Last night I had the chance to take in a Tyler Hilton show at the Hotel Cafe. I’ve been a fan of Hilton’s since his stint on the CW show “One Tree Hill” as the cocky Chris Keller, and really, what girl in her right mind doesn’t fall for a cocky musician at least once in her life? I was surprised to find that the actor behind Chris Keller was the talented musician that Hilton is. I took in a few of his shows during my brief residency in Nashville and was always impressed with his songwriting and the authenticity in his music. The show last night was the first time in a couple years that I’ve seen him live, and my, has this guy grown up.
There’s something to be said about downsizing from a major label, and Hilton hit it on the head when he said that recording his upcoming album was less of a production, and more of a musical experience. You know, the way that it used to be to record an album? You can hear this in his music, it’s the music of a few musicians who worked their asses off together, of songs that didn’t get passed on from one person to the next to clean and polish. There’s a truthfulness to the sound, even to the lyrics, like it’s been brought down to earth. That’s saying something, considering that Hilton is a singer-songwiter by all definitions, and they’re generally known as a no-frills group of musicians. Hilton taking over the reigns of his album, scaling it down and working with a set group, made his music mature in ways I didn’t think possible.
I walked away from this experience craving more of that. You know the days when singers used to sing around one mic and do the take over and over until it was perfect? People didn’t record their voices and their instruments separately and over-produce the crap out of them, they jammed, they became the best they could be because there wasn’t much to do if the take wasn’t spot on. The music seemed real. Tyler made me crave more music like that, he also made me highly anticipate this upcoming album of his, to see how this all translates into recorded material. I was impressed with the show all around, Hilton is a talented guy, not to mention charismatic. All of that came together in one great night of music on a cold Los Angeles night.
Here’s a little something special for you. Tyler Hilton Featuring the beautiful Elizabeth Huett doing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”