Christmas came early this year when the first single from the soon-to-be released ‘A Philly Special Christmas‘ album dropped like Santa’s presents down a chimney. Its debut song is a classic, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” originally recorded by the great Darlene Love.
However, it is who is singing the new version for the 2022 holiday season that is most thrilling—Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, Jordan Mailata, and Lane Johnson under the guidance of producer and The War on Drugs drummer, Charlie Hall, with executive producer Connor Barwin by their side.
Barwin, too, was a one-time Philadelphia Eagles player and is currently the team’s special assistant to the general manager, and is the man behind gathering the local crew for ‘A Philly Special Christmas’ album and directing proceeds from the sales of the LP to be donated to the Children’s Treatment Crisis Center in Philadelphia.
“I am so proud to be a part of ‘A Philly Special Christmas’, and happy that it is bringing so much joy and holiday spirit to everyone that hears it,” Barwin told Metro.
As for the package’s producer and co-curator, Barwin laughed and said, “Charlie (Hall) is a genius and these guys (on the ‘A Philly Special Christmas’ package) are all so talented.”
Officially released via Vera Y Records, the local Christmas album was recorded at Philadelphia recording studios Rittenhouse Soundworks, Silent Partners, and Elm St. Studio.
Along with its three singing Eagles donating their time, energy, and vocals, other locals in on the Christmas album performing classic holiday songs include saxophonist and band leader Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra), Rob Hyman (The Hooters), Eric Bazilian (The Hooters), Lady Alma, Zach Miller (Dr. Dog), Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs), Eliza Hardy Jones (The War on Drugs), Thomas Hughes (The Spinto Band), Brandon Beaver (MeWithoutYou), Randy Huth (Pissed Jeans), Nick Krill (The Spinto Band, Teen Men), Nasir Dickerson, Kaila Vandever, Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner, and The Silver Ages – all for the benefit of Philadelphia’s Children’s Treatment Crisis Center.
Philly Eagles announcer Merrill Reese and players Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, and Jordan Davis also make appearances on the holiday album with additional singles dropping every Friday until the package’s full release on Dec. 23.
Fans of The Hooters’ Eric Bazilian – the songwriter behind “(What If God Was) One of Us” by Joan Osborne – should be on the lookout, too, for his soon-to-be-announced solo holiday offering.
Of ‘A Philly Special Christmas’, however, its recording was a time of union for the sake of providing care and money to those in need, done in the spirit and joy of the holiday season.
“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,” wrote Philly Eagles’ offensive tackle Jordan Mailata as part of the album’s packaging. “And discovering that Lane and Kelce have great voices behind their beards was my favorite part.”