Creates New Holiday Classics
With The Help Of Kevin Griffin, Mark McGrath And More, Band of Merrymakers Is Creating Fresh Holiday Music And Putting A New Spin On Christmas Classics
By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine
Dec. 21, 2015 — One thing that people can always count on during the holiday season, whether they like it or not, is holiday music. Radio stations all around the country drop their standard rotation in favor of Christmas music that, for the most part, is just recycled versions of the same songs that have been around for a very long time.
Well, for those looking to change up their holiday music listening, a new supergroup is here to help. Band of Merrymakers recently released its debut album Welcome To Our Christmas Party, which contains original Christmas songs coupled with the band’s own versions of standards like “Jingle Bells” and “O Holy Night.”
The supergroup consists of a massive cast of talents from all walks of music including Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick (Fitz and The Tantrums), Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray), Sam Hollander, Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra) and Sean Foreman (3OH!3).
Griffin was one of the masterminds behind the project and worked with Hollander to make Merrymakers something relatively unique, especially in the landscape of holiday music.
"Sam had the idea to write a Christmas song a year and a half ago,” Griffin said. "It's rare that an idea starts and you have this grand idea, and this is a rare situation where it came from a single phone conversation when Sam and I were speaking, and it really turned into something that was beyond our wildest dreams.”
Though Christmas music is generally extremely profitable, it isn’t as easy as putting out a lazy version of “Jingle Bells.”
“What we're really proud of is that the quality of the songs is great. Sam and I are both aficionados of classic Christmas music so if we were going to do it, we wanted to make sure the songs were worthy of that canon of songs,” Griffin said. "It's weird. You have this six window every year tops for Christmas music and it's mostly the classics. So we had to write songs that could compete and go shoulder to shoulder with some of the greats."
The album features a slew of guest appearances from Christina Perri, Alex & Sierra, Natasha Bedingfield,Tyler Glenn (Neon Trees), Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum), Owl City, Bebe Rexha, Nick Hexum (311), Andrew McMahon, Jason Wade (Lifehouse), David Ryan Harris, David Hodges (Evanescence), The Mowglis, Street Corner Symphony and Dan Wilson (Semisonic).
For those that are unaware of the inner workings of the music industry, that is a very impressive lineup and assembling it is not an easy thing to accomplish. However, Griffin feels that the nature of the project and the fact that proceeds benefit MusiCares really helped get people on board.
"We knew that we wanted it to benefit a charity and when we landed on MusiCares as our charity the doors opened. Having the right motivation for this project is what I think opened the doors. That's how we were able to collect this great group of musicians,” Griffin said.
As MusiCares puts it, the organization “provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need,” and many of the musicians and personal who worked on the record have been personally touched or know someone who has been touched by the organization, which helped to grease the wheels and get Merrymakers moving.
The band is doing a little more than moving now though. Griffin said that the first two singles from the album have done very well and that the band has big plans for the future that include a tour next year and of course, more new music.
“What we want to do is maybe four or five songs a year and be continually completing the album. With Christmas records, it's new again every year,” Griffin said.
Welcome To Our Christmas Party is out now and is available for purchase as well as streaming on services like Spotify and Apple Music. You can find out more information and see the band’s music video for “Snow, Snow, Snow” on the Band of Merrymakers website.
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