Roots Rocker visits Mac’s Bar

Rock’n’roll is alive and well, and coming to Mac’s Bar tomorrow night. American roots rock artist Tyler Hilton is gracing Lansing with his presence alongside Ryan Cabrera Saturday Aug. 16.

source: fusion shows

source: fusion shows

Hilton is no stranger to music, or fans. Growing up on early rock’n’roll music, and teaching himself Elvis Presley songs, Tyler received his first record deal at the age of 18.

Similar to well-known Americana rock’n’roll artists(think Dylan, Tom Petty, The Eagles), Hilton describes his music as that same old time feel. “It’s rock n roll restlessness but from a place of uniquely American roots music like blues and country,” Hilton said.

Popular fan-favorites include covers from Bob Dylan and John Waite. Hilton’s version of “Missing You” sparked one of his most memorable on-stage moments to date, where he got to join Waite himself on stage for a very special duet of the song.

No success story is complete without a breakdown, or in this case—a turn of direction. While working on the album “Storms We Share” over roughly 6 years, Hilton faced a decision. It’s an all-too familiar one, labels wanting to brand artists as something they’re not, to conform, or be anything other than themselves. Having worked the album over and over again, Hilton still wasn’t happy with it. Even considering quitting the business altogether, he scrapped the album in its entirety, quit the record label and was left contemplating his next move. “It was nerve wracking and scary but I’d had enough of being on the side lines and I don’t like being told what to do when it comes to my music. So I had to step up or shut up. I was done shutting up so I started my own label,” Hilton said.

He grabbed his friends, and without second-guessing, recorded the album on his very new Hooptie Tune Records label and just like that-his childhood dreams came true.

After years of waiting, fans were pleasantly surprised with the first album in 8 years, “Forget the Storm,” released in February of 2012. The very personal record symbolizes all the things he left behind—both the songs and the record label.

Though generally an acoustic artist, don’t think this blue-eyed California native can’t get down with the best of the bad boys of rock’n’roll. His song, “Loaded Gun,” like some of the best ideas, is all thanks to a little booze.  “Loaded Gun comes from my pile of straight country songs that usually gather dust and don’t get recorded. Sometimes I play them live and at one point I was jamming on this one after a few too many and thought, man I need to turn up this amp and play this one loud. It turned into a rocker and it’s been one of my favorites since,” Hilton said. This song welcomes listeners to let out their inner rebel and live life in the fast lane for a mere 3 minutes.

And if you’re still wondering where you’ve heard the name, think the big screen. He played a young Elvis in the biopic Walk the Line, and is featured on the soundtrack.  Also starring on the small screen as Chris Keller on the CW’s One Tree Hill, Hilton is no stranger to acting. He spoke about a movie that just wrapped. “I’ve just finished a Christmas movie with my friend Hilarie Burton called Papa Noel that’s coming out this December. It’s got Randy Travis in it as well. He finished it right before he got sick. We’ve all been pulling for him,” Hilton mentioned.

Despite both his successes on iTunes and on the screen, Hilton continues to show appreciation for his fans, by keeping a close relationship with them he says, “It’s important to me because it’s important to the fans. I’m still a fan myself and go to people’s shows and hope the whole time, ‘tonight will be the night I can meet ‘em after.’ I totally get that,” Hilton said.

Be sure to catch Tyler Hilton and Ryan Cabrera at Mac’s Bar in Lansing on Saturday August 16th for a stripped-down, intimate concert. Doors open at 6p.m. and tickets are just $15. For more information, visit or @tylerhilton on Twitter.