Philadelphia, PA

Eagles players team up off the field to deliver “A Philly Special Christmas” album

Jalyn Smoot
Eagles linemen Jason Kelce (left), Lane Johnson (middle), and Jordan Mailata (right) are bringing the holiday cheerPhoto byPhiladelphia Eagles Instagram screenshot

PHILADELPHIA- It’s the holiday season and this year Eagles offensive linemen Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Jordan Mailata are gifting fans with a festive music album.

You read that correctly, the core of the Eagles offensive line will release “A Philly Special Christmas” this month, an album full of holiday-themed hits.

The concept came to Kelce and his teammates in 2021 while they were assisting at the toy drive for Children's Crisis Treatment Center. Per the arrangement of Kelce and others, all proceeds from the record sale profits will be donated to CCTC.

We wanted it to be a Philadelphia thing," Kelce told Eagles reporter Sage Hurley. "We wanted it to be something the community could embrace and have fun with. We wanted it to be something that could raise Christmas spirit and give some kids great holidays."

The trio of Eagles stars plan to release a new song each Friday leading up to the release of the full album on December 23.

Along with its virtual release, the album may be bought on the official website. Additionally, on Saturday, December 3, a small number of autographed vinyl records will be offered at the Eagles Pro Shop at Lincoln Financial Field.
A Philly Special Christmas album cover artPhoto byVera Y Recors / Hannah Westerman

Preparations for the album began in the summer, when Kelce initially thought of the idea.

I had an idea that doing a Christmas album would be great. The problem is, I can't sing, so I knew I was going to have to coax guys that could sing to come do this. That's when I went to Jordan, Lane, and some actual musicians."

Although he had the charisma for a Christmas album, Kelce knew his vocals left much to be desired. That's when he, accompanied by Eagles teammates Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson sought help from War on Drugs, a Philadelphia-based rock band.
I hope we bring people together with this album the same way that it brought us closer together," Mailata said

Mailata has arguably become the star of the group, as videos of the trio singing have already begun to go viral.

I think Jordan [Mailata] is just playing football to launch his singing his career," Kelce said. "Some people choose American Idol as their start but he's just like 'I'm gonna make millions playing left tackle first.' I think it's pretty genius, actually."

It will be interesting to see how the full project sounds, but judging the viral leaks so far, Christmas fans may be in for a treat this holiday.

This project ended up becoming one of the most enjoyable and delightful experiences I've ever been a part of," Kelce said. "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."

Kelce, who was a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, an honor given to players who have had a significant positive impact on his community, is no stranger to spreading love and joy.

A staple in the Philadelphia community, Kelce is always actively involved in Eagles-related volunteering. Last year, Kelce helped raise $100,000 for the Eagles Autism Foundation fundraiser.

Kelce has also volunteered his time at a variety of organizations, including the Eagles Charitable Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House (where he joined individuals from their camp for a field day at Lincoln Financial Field), Bringing Hope Home (where he joined families from BHH at a community event to paint and carve pumpkins in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month), and Liberty USO (where he teamed up with Dietz & Watson to feed military families).

Given his adoration for Philly, it's not surprising to see Kelce lead an effort to deliver this Christmas album.

"A Philly Special Christmas" is being released on Vera Y Records, named after Kelce's daughter Wyatt and Barwin's daughter Vera. It was recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks, Silent Partners, and Elm St. studios.

War on Drugs drummer Charlie Hall produced the album, and former Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin gets an executive producer's credit.

Check out the full album track list below:

  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

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