Hanson do not just talk the talk. Whether in 1997 as the youngest Grammy nominated songwriters in history with the smash single “Mmmbop”, showcasing their live chops at Carnegie Hall with 2003’s Underneath Acoustic Tour or debuting with one of the highest self-released albums of all time with 2004’s “Underneath”, they walk the walk. The bands aptly named forthcoming studio album, The Walk, proves to be the greatest testament to the bands independent and pioneering musical spirit yet. In 2004 The New York Post praised them saying, “Hanson has established itself as a credible rock band whose best years and music are still to come.” With The Walk, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson are proving them right.
The band’s last studio album, 2004’s critically acclaimed Underneath, took them to #1 on the ‘Billboard’ indie charts. Released on the bands own 3CG Records Underneath proved Hanson remains a vibrant entity in today’s music scene with the album also spawning a #2 single in the US and top 10 single in UK with lead track, “Penny and Me”. The success of Underneath as an independent release was in stark contrast to the arduous process the band went through to complete the album while still under the corporate umbrella of their former major label. That struggle, to break from their major label contract and start their own independent label, was captured in Strong Enough to Break, a hard-hitting documentary film selected for the Hollywood Film Festival and added to multiple music school curriculums including NYU and USC.
Their forthcoming album The Walk was co-produced with veteran producer Danny Kortchmar (Billy Joel, Don Henley, Carole King, James Taylor). The result is an album independent in sound and message. “Every song on The Walk has a direct tie to something or someone we have a passion for” explains Taylor. “We recorded these songs in our Tulsa studio to capture the true energy and spirit of what we were feeling. It’s very personal.”
“A lot of the songs were tracked live ‘off-the-floor’ in their first inception,” Isaac says. “It ends up capturing more of the true essence of what the band is. There wasn’t some record company guy there telling us how it should sound or feel, or what songs we should be focusing on. That’s why we left the label when we were working on when we were recording Underneath. It’s our music. This new album was done from the beginning the way that all records should be done.”
The body of work in their new album, The Walk, was inspired not only by personal experiences in the last two years, including the birth of Taylor’s third child and marriages for both Isaac and Zac, but also their convictions. In an unconventional move, Hanson is releasing the song “Great Divide” as an exclusive internet track on World AIDS Day, December 1st. 100% of the revenues derived by the sale of the song, which features a South African children's choir recorded on the group's recent trip to South Africa and Mozambique in July 2006, will be donated to the Perinatal HIV Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa (hivsa.com).
Hanson released their first independent album in 1995 foreshadowing their future as indie music pioneers. That album contained the smash hit Mmmbop, written by Hanson independently, prior to signing with their major label and without any outside influence. The band signed with Mercury Records who in 1997 released the three-Grammy nominated “Middle of Nowhere”, selling eight-million albums and an international hit single “Mmmbop.” The song was praised by Bono in an interview with CD:UK as “genius.” The band followed with “This Time Around” in 2000 and “Underneath” in 2004.
Now ten years after that first Mercury release the band has returned to its independent and musical beginnings, drawing from their R&B and rock n roll influences while continuing to define their own sound. “There’s a harder-hitting sound to this record,” Taylor says. “You can hear it in Ike’s guitar, and in the grooves. We’re going back to our roots.”
The Walk full length album will be released in Spring 2007
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