Fresh off the Eagles win against league rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, and an undefeated season, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata, Connor Barwin and Charlie Hall (The War on Drugs) announce A Philly Special Christmas due out on December 23rd on Vera Y Records. Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks, Silent Partners, and Elm St studio, proceeds from the album will be donated to the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center in Philadelphia.
The seven song LP features classic holiday songs and performances from the aforementioned players as well as Lady Alma, Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra), Rob Hyman (The Hooters), Eric Bazilian (The Hooters), Zach Miller (Dr. Dog), Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs), Eliza Hardy Jones (The War on Drugs), Brandon Beaver (MeWithoutYou), Thomas Hughes (The Spinto Band), Randy Huth (Pissed Jeans), Nick Krill (The Spinto Band, Teen Men), Nasir Dickerson, Kaila Vandever, Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner, and The Silver Ages. Eagles announcer Merrill Reese and players Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, and Jordan Davis all make appearances.
"It's amazing how talented these guys are and cool to see Philly's music and sports worlds come together to create something special for the holidays,” says Barwin. “I'm proud that everyone involved wanted to do something good with this record by donating proceeds to Philadelphia’s Children's Crisis Treatment Center’s annual toy drive to help bring a little joy to families during the holidays."
Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata enjoyed singing together in the locker room and started talking about the possibilities for making a holiday album filled with classic songs they loved from childhood. They floated the idea by former teammate and current Director of Player Development for the Eagles, Connor Barwin. Barwin reached out to his friend Charlie Hall, drummer for Grammy winning rock band, The War on Drugs, who also loved the idea.
The players, Hall and Barwin got together for a summer bonfire armed with guitars and favorite songs. Gathered around the fire, they sang, laughed, talked, and expressed love for their city and making joyful music together. They enjoyed the experience so much; they knew that making a holiday record had to happen. Hall agreed to produce and began to assemble some of the finest Philadelphian musicians to join them in the studio to make this dream a reality.
“Earlier this year, Jason Kelce got it in his mind to make something special for Philly and has assembled a group of teammates (who can REALLY sing, like REALLY) to make a Christmas record,” says Hall. “What began as just a seed of an idea has grown to include all sorts of Philly luminaries both young and old, from The Hooters to the celestial sounds of Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra to The War On Drugs to Lady Alma and everything in between (including members of Dr Dog, The Spinto Band and countless others). We've had some of the most beautiful young Philly players add their heart and spirit - including Nasir Dickerson (tenor sax) and Kalia Vandever (trombone). This is a record that is just absolutely full of JOY.”
“This is going to be something very special that will bring lots of joy to many people, in Philly and beyond,” he continues. “These guys are so sweet. And hilarious. Gentle giants. It is a true snapshot of what makes the Philadelphia community - sports, music, and beyond.”
"It means a lot to me about coming together, sharing stories about our upbringing, and what Christmas was like for each of us growing up,” says Mailata. “I hope we bring people together with this album the same way that it brought us closer together talking about our backgrounds, music and family holidays. And discovering that Lane and Kelce have great voices behind their beards was my favorite part."
“What started out as a fun idea with the intention of raising money for families around the holidays, turned into something much more,” enthuses Kelce. “This project ended up becoming one of the most enjoyable and delightful experiences I’ve ever been a part of. How all of this came together, the people, the music, the joy, was incredible. From our first meeting, you could feel the happiness and energy from everyone, the amount of people who were willing to give their skill, time, and spirit has been inspiring. At some point, we all realized, this is going to be really great, which exceeded any of our expectations going in. But more than that, and I know it’s cheesy, this album really came to embody friendship, joy, and giving, as if the Christmas Spirit had possessed us all. I can’t thank everyone who was involved in creating this enough and am excited to partner and donate proceeds to the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center’s annual toy drive in Philadelphia. I feel so proud to have been involved!”
In what other city would professional football players get together with prominent musicians to create something out of friendship, love and joy? Only in Philly. Only here in Philly.
A Philly Special Christmas
1. White Christmas
2. Blue Christmas
3. Merry Christmas Baby
4. The Night Before Christmas
5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
6. Silent Night
7. Santa Clause is Coming to Town