Award-winning Austin, Texas-based Hot Club of Cowtown may be the world’s most globe-trotting, effervescent string trio, who’s joyful sound blends the traditional Western swing of the 1940s American southwest with European hot jazz influences of the same era. The Hot Club of Cowtown, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, writes its own original songs and reinterprets everything from hoedowns to American songbook standards in its own, original style. The band is guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana James, and upright bassist Zack Sapunor.
HCCT has toured with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Roxy Music and others and proudly represents traditional American music throughout the world for the US State Department from Azerbaijan to the Sultanate of Oman. It has been named Ameripolitan Western Swing Group of the Year and is a member of the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. Fifteen albums, a global following, and the relentless passion of its live shows are the band’s enduring trademark.
Recently signed to UK roots label the Last Music Company, the Hot Club of Cowtown continues to amass a devoted following worldwide through its one-of-a-kind versatility and virtuosity. Career highlights include the Fuji Rock Festival (Japan), Lincoln Center, the Grand Ol’ Opry, the Glastonbury Festival (UK) and all points in between.
From portraying Elvis Presley in Walk the Line and garnering a cult following as musician Chris Keller on the CW hit TV show One Tree Hill, to writing and touring with the likes of Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Joe Cocker, Tyler Hilton has enjoyed an award-winning career spanning music, film and television. Born and raised in California, Tyler grew up in a family of talented musicians who had played for acts like Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison and Donovan. Performing with his family from an early age, Hilton became serious about songwriting at 14. At 15, he called into L.A.’s KLOS radio station to win concert tickets and ended up wowing the hosts with an on-air performance. The station made him a regular guest and helped launch his debut record, which caught the ear of Warner Bros. Records, who signed him to record his second album The Tracks of Tyler Hilton, earning him two Top 40 singles.
Tyler then landed the dream gig of portraying Elvis in Golden Globe-winning Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, opposite Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix. “I’d never done any kind of professional acting, but got quite the education from those two. They were pros, and so patient.” Two of his recordings featured on the film’s Grammy-winning soundtrack and his portrayal of the late legend helped launch an acting career which has since seen him star alongside Robert Downey Jr. in the 2007 film Charlie Bartlett and opposite Halle Berry in CBS series Extant. However, it was Tyler’s musical role in One Tree Hill that helped build the devoted, global fan base he has today. The series heavily featured songs from his third album, 2012’s Forget the Storm, which reached #2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums Chart. Tyler also featured on the show’s soundtracks with fan favorites like “When the Stars Go Blue” and “Missing You.” “I played the worst kind of person on the show, and still the fans totally took me in and connected with my music. It was an incredible fan base to be a part of!”
Following 2014’s Indian Summer, Tyler released his proudest body of work yet, 2019’s City on Fire, featuring a collaboration with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley (an ex-roommate). The album, rooted in Hilton’s signature cinematic folk-rock stylings, was featured heavily in film and TV including Showtime’s Shameless. The star-studded video for the record’s gritty lead single, “City on Fire,” was directed by Tyler’s wife, Megan Park, an award-winning director, writer and actress. A video for the album’s second single, “When I See You, I See Home,” features footage of the couple’s 2015 nuptials and their baby daughter, Winnie, born in 2019. Alongside working on his retro-inspired 6th studio album (expected Spring 2021) which will include a dark take on Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” – released in early 2020, following the singer’s death – Tyler and longtime collaborator Jaco Caraco (Miley Cyrus, Kelly Clarkson) have been writing and producing
new music for Billy Ray Cyrus’ soon-to-be released follow up to 2019’s record-shattering “Old Town Road.”
Hilton has been featured everywhere from Rolling Stone and People’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” to The Tonight Show and TRL. Additionally, he co-starred in a #1 MTV music video with Taylor Swift, a longtime fan, for her song, “Teardrops Drops on My Guitar,” which was nominated for an MTV Music Video Award. Tyler and Megan also starred in the #1 CMT music video for Gloriana’s “Kissed You Goodnight.”
Tyler currently lives in Los Angeles and Ontario, Canada.