The Eagles release a Christmas record.
No, not the Eagles group. The undefeated EAGLES, 6-0, Philadelphia Eagles.
In December, Vera Y Records will release A Special Christmas in Philadelphiaa seven-song album that showcases the vocal talents of Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce and offensive teammates Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata.
The album is produced by Charlie Hall of The War On Drugs and produced by Connor Barwin, the former Eagles linebacker and current manager whose Make The World Better gigs have been featured by Philadelphia bands like Kurt Vile and Japanese. Breakfast.
The Vera Y label combines the names of Barwin’s daughter, Vera, and Kelce’s daughter, Wyatt.
The first single is a Kelce-Johnson-Mailata version of Darlene Love’s classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, produced by Phil Spector in 1963, featuring 98-year-old Sun Ra Arkestra prodigy Marshall Allen on saxophone. It releases on Black Friday, November 25.
The album, which features a dramatic recitation of “The Night Before Christmas” by Eagles radio announcer Merrill Reese, accompanied by Zach Miller of Dr. Dog on piano, will be released in its entirety on green vinyl and all digital services. December 21. 23. From the end of November, the vinyl will be available for pre-order at phillyspecialchrtismas.com.
Proceeds will go to the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center of Philadelphia, helping fund a toy drive to fulfill the holiday wishes of children who experienced trauma early in life, Barwin said.
The great title A Special Christmas in Philadelphia takes its name, of course, from the iconic play that allowed quarterback Nick Foles to catch a touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII in 2018. He also nods to A Very Special Christmasthe holiday compilation album series that has grossed $100 million since 1987.
The cover of A Special Christmas in Philadelphia album, recorded during the offseason this year and completed in July before the start of Eagles training camp, was created with permission from the estate of Peanuts designer Charles Schulz.
He tweaks the cover concept for Vince Guaraldi’s 1965 album Trio A Charlie Brown Christmas. A new drawing by Hannah Westerman places Johnson, Mailata and Kelce at the base of the tree in the space once occupied by Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus.
The album was born out of locker room discussions among music lovers on the Eagles’ close-knit offensive line.
Kelce appeared on Dan Reed’s show on WXPN-FM (88.5), singing Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” and his own “Homes Change”. Johnson was filmed in 2020 switching to Carl Carlton’s 1981 hit “She’s A Bad Mama Jama.”
And Mailata – the 6-foot-8, 360-pound former Australian rugby player who is the tallest Eagle – has brought out his musical talent this year.
In March, he competed for three weeks on Fox TV The Masked Singer, where he sang “Classic” by MKTO, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and “Wanted: Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi. In July, Mailata opened for Ne-Yo at the Dell Music Center, singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder and “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.
After last season, Barwin said: “Kelce and Lane were like, ‘We should make a Christmas record. One of them said it in front of me, and I thought, “Well, let’s do it.”
The next step was to contact Hall, the drummer of The War on Drugs and leader of indie rock male choir The Silver Ages, who sings backing vocals on A special Philly Christmas.
READ MORE: What’s next for Japanese breakfast? First, a Philly advantage with the Eagles’ Connor Barwin.
“Jason and Connor called and said, ‘How can we do this? ‘” Hall said, speaking last week from San Diego.
Hall got together with the o-linemen, passing guitars and swapping ideas over a beer by a fire pit in Barwin’s house in Fishtown.
“I wanted to know first what they were looking for. Was it a goof or was it a sincere thing? said Hall, who will release his first solo album, all instrumental invisible ink, in early 2023. “And I immediately saw that it is really sincere. They just wanted to do something that was a love letter to Philly.
“Charlie wanted to talk to the guys about what they think and feel about Christmas and what songs they love,” Barwin said. “And from that point on it was like, let’s make this stuff really good. Let’s make it fun, but also a serious project that guys can be really proud of.
Philly Special accomplishes this with new takes on mid-20th century R&B Christmas classics, with a “White Christmas” inspired by the 1956 version of The Drifters heard in Alone at homeand a “Merry Christmas, Baby” that features Philadelphia singer Lady Alma.
Kelce’s outsized personality shines through – he showcases it in a bonus track with Philly Boy Roy, the comedic caricature created by indie rock drummer and Harleysville native Jon Wurster.
Johnson leads the way on Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.” “Oh my God,” exclaimed Hall, “This is from a real place.” And the scene-stealer is Mailata, who shows falsetto in “White Christmas” and delivers Otis Redding tracks on “Merry Christmas, Baby,” which were “totally improvised,” Hall added.
A Special Christmas in Philadelphia was recorded at Rittenhouse Sound Works and Silent Partner studios in Germantown, and at Rob Hyman of Hooters’ Elm Street Studios in Conshohocken, where Hyman played organ and accordion, and Eric Bazilian mandola on “Blue Christmas” .
“I wanted to capture everything that’s special and unique about the Philadelphia music world,” Hall said. “I called the Hooters guys, and they were like, ‘Of course we’re in!’ Then I’m at Sun Ra’s in Germantown and Marshall tells me to run it… Talk about the thrill of a lifetime.
Hall said Kelce, Mailata and Johnson were “just the nicest guys. There is a feeling of family and unity. And then something that I found really interesting: these guys are masters of what they do, right? But in the recording studio they say, “Just tell me what to do.” They are so coachable.
Alongside Philadelphia musicians like steel guitarist Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner, tenor saxophonist Nasir Dickerson and engineer Nick Krill, Hall bandmates Robbie Bennett and Eliza Hardy Jones also play on A special Philly Christmas.
“Eliza had them do these crazy vocal warm-ups and really helped them with the singing mechanics,” Hall said. “And they were like, ‘Coach E! Coach E! Come back here, we need your help. There was just zero egos.’
Kelce, Mailata and Johnson are busy these days trying to get back to the Super Bowl, but Barwin isn’t ruling out the possibility of some sort of charity performance happening this year.
“It would be like a stealth thing where we ask guys to do a song or two,” he said. “We are working on it. But that kind of stuff is really hard to pull off during the season.
Will be A Special Christmas in Philadelphia evolve over the years? Potentially, Barwin said, citing rookie nose tackle Jordan Davis as another soft-spoken Eagle. “We would love to have him do a song next year. But we’re kind of going to leave it open.