it all back home
Hanson begins world tour, debut songs where else?
As if anyone needed to question it.
"Everyone at this point knows how much we love Tulsa," said Zac Hanson, one-third of the sibling power-trio Hanson.
Which is why they are not only kicking off their latest globe-trotting tour here in their hometown, but they're debuting new songs, too.
"We're bringing something new," he said, "brand-new music, a new EP and a new studio album next year."
The EP, "Stand Up Stand Up" was recorded live at Tulsa Little Theatre with an intimate crowd of about 700 fan-club members over two days. It features four acoustic versions of new Hanson tracks along with "Worlds On Fire," from their upcoming as-of-yet untitled album.
The "Use Your Sole" tour finds brothers Zac, Taylor and Isaac on their second lap around the globe — on foot. In a little over a year, the trio has walked nearly 30,000 miles — one mile at a time — to raise funds and awareness for acute poverty and AIDS in Africa.
These three brothers broke into the music world as barely teens, first singing songs like "Mmmbop" — which they wrote — to an excited audience at 1992's Mayfest. Taylor, Zac and Isaac soon hopped aboard a supersonic rocketship to fame. The Motown-inspired pop trio struck a chord, sold millions of albums and stayed close to its Tulsa roots.
Flash forward to this millennium, the grown-up family men still make music heralded as some of the best indie rock of any generation. They still sell out tour stops. The guys kick of their newest national tour here in Tulsa at Cain's Ballroom on Wednesday, with guests Hellogoodbye, Steel Train and Sherwood.
The new album is expected in May. Portions of it were recorded in a studio on a 25-acre pecan grove near the Mexico border. "The core sound was recorded there," Zac said. "Everything else was done in Tulsa." It will be released on their 3CG Records label.
"It's a very pop album," Zac said, then paused. He chuckled. "That sounds a little funny coming from us. We're a pop band. But with Isaac's guitar work and Taylor's piano on this album, there are no big reverbs or things like that."
What it will have is the big, happy, pop melodies that have helped make the brothers famous. "We never try to be anything, but we were happy and excited about where we were as a band" when making the album.
And the trio's growing family — now seven kids between the three dads — has kept things upbeat.
"Though it's getting hard to beat the curve," Zac joked. "Taylor already has four kids."
The brothers, Zac, 23, Taylor, 26, and Isaac, 28, are all married and are dads. Isaac has two, Zac one and, well, we now all know how many Taylor has. Touring and living and working closely as families changes nearly everything, Zac said.
"Of course, we write about it. It changes your perspective on life. Things you took for granted you now think about a lot more. We are enamored with our joyful children."
The perspective is possibly most prominently seen in their international service work. The Hansons donate $1 for each mile they walk on their tours. Their partnership with TOMS shoes has taken them to Africa to donate tens of thousands of pairs of shoes to children and help raise money for helping to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS to children.
"Especially as a father, we really feel the need to focus on the prevention of AIDS to babies being born," Zac said.
And like the mile walks they take at every tour stop, it's imperative that these guys keep moving.
"We try to put out something every year. That's something we've always tried to do. When we were on the majors, we were always frustrated because we always had to wait," he said of the band's history with major record labels such as Island Def Jam Music Group.
"No, we're free," he added. "These are the best years of our lives, and we're living them to the fullest."
The Hanson brothers have already walked one lap around the globe — over 30,000 miles — in a little over a year. “Our goal over our last tour was to keep it going, to make the round again and bring more bands with us each time,” said Hanson brother Zac in a recent Tulsa World interview. “We plan on doing this for a long time.
The brothers donate $1 per mile walked, and TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes for each pair sold at Hanson events.
“We just want everyone to find ways of giving back to the world,” said Zac. “You can do it while you’re succeeding; you can do itevery day. Don’t wait and don’t give up.