Last year, sibling trio Hanson spent time lecturing performance and entertainment law students in college about its bumpy 5-year arc of major-label heartache, chronicled in the documentary "Strong Eno

Last year, sibling trio Hanson spent time lecturing performance and entertainment law students in college about its bumpy 5-year arc of major-label heartache, chronicled in the documentary "Strong Enough To Break." But this year, fans can expect talking, walking and rocking from the band in the form of a new album, "The Walk," as well as an accompanying "making-of" video podcast, "Taking the Walk."

The group's sixth full-length effort, "The Walk," will be released May 22 through Hanson's own 3CG label. "Taking a Walk" will become available, in increments, before the end of this month via the band's Web site and iTunes.

"Each week, we're able to say, 'Here's the craft, from the inside, and our new political struggles as we take them on,'" Taylor Hanson tells Billboard.com. "As an independent band, we need to know and use the tools our fans use to spread the word about the music. We know what our fans respond to, so we hope this just fuels our base."

Listeners had an opportunity to download the set's first single, "Great Divide," in November when it was released to iTunes in an effort to raise money for AIDS/HIV hospitals in South Africa. "We liked the feeling of taking something we had and then giving it away," Taylor explains.

It was the band's visit to that country that helped fuel the general theme of the record: a journey. After the mellow feel of 2004's "Underneath," the group was ready to craft something with more energy and "soul. It comes in waves. Sometimes, we just need something real rootsy and down to earth. Other times, we need to really get something out of our systems," Taylor says.

Hanson tapped friends like Fastball's Miles Zuniga, Boston-based songwriter Bleu and the Nixons' Zac Maloy to contribute to the effort, while veteran producer Danny Kortchmar (Neil Young, Bon Jovi) helmed the boards.

Episodes of "Strong Enough To Break" have also been made free via podcast. As previously reported, the film takes viewers behind the scenes of its struggle with Island/Def Jam while recording "Underneath." This will mark the first time the film has been made available to the public -- and the group also ensured that it came at no cost.

"We hope that ['Strong Enough To Break'] is so much more powerful now that it's free and available to the public. We think a lot of bands can relate, too," Taylor says. "We were approached by professors after we'd finish presenting the film, asking if we could put it on DVD so they could show it to their future classes. This gives a new wave for the film."

The group is in the midst of planning a U.S. headlining tour for April and May.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print