An audience of “One Tree Hill” fans gathered at World Cafe Live Feb. 26 to see Tyler Hilton perform. The show had a great energy aided by two solid opening acts, Emma Charles and Kicking Sunrise.
Emma Charles kicked off the show with a set of originals and covers from acts like Tori Kelly and Joni Mitchell. Charles is a student of Berklee College of Music, now pursuing her folk pop music career. Her voice was soulful and her songs had easy sing-along choruses. With just a guitar as an accompaniment, she held her own in the room full of people busy eating and drinking.
The second opener was Kicking Sunrise. They are a four-piece band from New Jersey that released their debut album, “Here’s to the Sunrise,” in 2015. The band had great stage presence and really engaged the audience.
In addition to their original songs, they performed really tight mashups. Their set started with one of these mashups, weaving from “Come On Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson to “So Sick” by Ne-Yo and ending with “Closer” by The Chainsmokers. The band was very entertaining and I ended up adding their track “Right One, Wrong Time” to my library while at the show.
Then, it was time for the headliner Tyler Hilton. Hilton rose to fame when his appearance on the hit TV show “One Tree Hill” as Chris Keller in 2004 spun into a recurring role on the show. He had already released his debut album in 2000, but the show gave him a bigger platform to share his musical talents. He also appeared in the music video of Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops on my Guitar.”
The singer-songwriter and actor released his newest album, “City on Fire,” in January. The songs on the album a influenced by country, blues, folk and traditional rock music. Though he’s a California native, his music captures the spirit of Nashville.
Hilton’s live performance was wonderful. His voice was full and smooth despite a rasp to his speaking voice. He explained to the audience that being on tour has started to affect his voice, but it was unnoticeable while he sang. He performed most of the set with two bandmates, one on drums and one on keyboard. They stepped away for him to go acoustic in the middle portion of the show, much like the set he played in October opening for Amy Shark.
He performed a good amount of songs from the new album, but was also taking requests from the crowd. He was open to suggestions and had strong banter with the crowd. He closed the show with a fan request “When The Stars Go Blue,” which he performed on “One Tree Hill” with Bethany Joy Lenz.