THE NORTHERNER
BACK TO
HANSON
Hanson sings for a cause
By: Brittany Johnson
Posted: 4/16/08
The three longhaired brothers of Hanson have come a long way from their chart topping 1997 song "Mmmbop."

Hanson enjoyed a stint of super-stardom, but as the '90s came and went, it was pretty much assumed that, like everything great from the '90s, Hanson had fallen off the face of the earth.

But they're back.

Hanson's latest album "The Walk" was inspired by a trip the brothers took to South Africa. They originally planned to stay for a couple of weeks as part of a charity organization. It gives cell phones to needy families so they can connect with physicians around the country.

What started out as a two week charity project turned into a four-month project where the brothers worked with the Soweto Choir. The children in the choir are mostly orphans whose parents died from HIV/AIDS and whose grandparents can't afford to take care of them.

"My brothers and I went to South Africa to better understand the issues facing many AIDS-ravaged nations. As a part of our journey we wanted to capture the voices of this choir to help us remember and hold on to our experience," Taylor Hanson, 25, said in a press release. "They sang of hope in an area far more accustomed to poverty and disease than afternoon field trips to sing with a few guys from the West."

Hanson will continue their work in South Africa during their "Continue the Walk Tour." They have joined with TOM, a shoe manufacturer. TOM has pledged that for every pair of shoes bought, it will donate a pair to a needy child in Africa.

Along with their shoe donations, Hanson will get up-close and personal as they participate in a barefoot, one-mile walk to appreciate true poverty.

"For people to experience what it's like to be poor sometime during their life is important," Zac said. "Walking on hot or cold asphalt may make all the difference."

Throughout the interview, Zac spoke of the support of his fans and the TOM organization that will be helping the stars to give back.

The AIDS/HIV cause is one that hits close to home for Hanson. Their hometown of Tulsa, Okla., has a high rate of AIDS/HIV.

Their new album "The Walk" is a complete change from the "Mmmbop" era that put them in the palms of a million tweenie hands.

But according to Zac, that is the case with all their music. Zac said Hanson tries to make songs that are them and not necessarily ones that will be the chart toppers.

"We don't have a 'sound,' we just always want to evolve and change," Zac said. "I find inspiration from others and we do things that we are passionate about."

Hanson will be joined on their tour by indie rockers Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers and Kate Voegel from One Tree Hill.

Hanson is coming to the Madison Theater in Covington, Ky., April 17.

Tickets are available now at ticketmaster.com for $28.50 per ticket, but beware of the $7.90 convenience charge. Tickets will also be sold at the door in advance for $30.50 Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. at the box office, but only cash is accepted.

If the concert is not sold out by April 17, tickets will be sold at the door for $32.50 starting at 6 pm.