If ever a Christmas project titled We Need Christmas is pertinent to what is going on in the world today, the new Maddie & Tae holiday collection fits the bill. Released October 23, the six-song project includes two originals, the title track and “Merry Married Christmas” plus the Christmas standards “This Christmas,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
It had been on the duo’s bucket list to do a Christmas album so when they were approached about doing it this year, they saw an opportunity to share the spirit of Christmas with their fans. Producers Jimmy Robbins and Derek Wells helped them fulfill their dream.
The duo had 15 of their favorite songs picked out, so choosing six of those was not an easy task. The two originals were a no brainer, so Maddie and Tae set out to pick the other four.
“It just came down to we felt that certain songs were the bones of the project,” Tae explained. “Plus we didn’t want to cut a song that was too close to the songs we had written. Both of us love ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’ so we worked around that song to find the balance and soul of Christmas.”
Maddie added, “A lot of country artists go with a country Christmas when they record their album. We just wanted to treat it like a totally different thing, just to see what we could come up with. We went more in the direction of Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole … those were the artists that really inspired this record.”
Tae said she was listening to “This Christmas” before they went into the studio to record it. “I thought this has to be a Maddie & Tae moment, so we took what existed on the song and put our little touch on it.”
Maddie adds, “I think we did start the project with ‘This Christmas’ because it set the tone for the album. Then we had a moodier production with “Baby Please Come Home.” Songs can be redone and reinterpreted, and that song has lyrics that are so sad. We wanted to dig into a more somber thing with it. It was really cool to get to explore musically when we were recoding the songs. It was really fun for us.”
Tae also commented on the album cover, saying, “Even with the art work, we wanted the listener to feel like we had invited them and were welcoming them into our living room to have a drink.” Maddie agreed, describing the living room as “cozy and welcoming, just come in and sit by the fire with us. That is basically the record.”
The two originals were the first Christmas songs the girls had written, and Maddie says she found it easier to write a Christmas song because you know exactly what you are going to write about. “It’s like bowling with bumpers, you know where you are going with the lyrics and where they need to go. When you write a regular song, you are building something from nothing. With a Christmas song, you put in cocoa, snuggling and fire and you have a great start.
“We listened to a ton of Christmas music. Kacey Musgraves’ Christmas album inspired us because she has such unique songs on it. My husband has movies and a huge Christmas vinyl collection, and his excitement made me excited. We were listening to all that music and we watched Polar Express like four times.”
While writing “We Need Christmas,” Maddie says they feel that especially this year, everyone needs the holiday spirit and joy and happiness that Christmas brings. Those random acts of kindness that you hear about around Christmas is what inspired the song. While writing “Merry Married Christmas,” the two thought about starting their own traditions with their husbands, celebrating Christmas for the first time and the joy of looking forward to many more Christmases together.
Maddie and her husband, Jonah Font, dated eight years before celebrating their marriage on November 22, 2019. Tae and husband, songwriter Josh Kerr, were married on February 21 of this year after dating for a year. They are already establishing Christmas traditions with their husbands.
“Jonah and I have one tradition that he came up with,” Maddie said. “We always have a real Christmas tree, so we slice off a piece of the bottom of the tree and make an ornament out of it, and always put the year on it. You can tell which years I made the ornaments! Really, when I have time it’s cute, so this year I’m gonna have time to make a really great ornament! He has made me a Christmas tradition junkie now.”
Recording the Christmas project was a labor of love for the girls, who both already love the holiday. They agree that Polar Express is probably their favorite Christmas movie. “Every year we were working during Christmas, so we would snuggle up and watch that movie,” Maddie recalled. “Arthur Christmas is maybe the cutest Christmas movie ever. And you have to watch The Holiday or Four Christmases.
In keeping with their love of giving back during the holiday, Maddie & Tae are partnering with John Deere and Farm Rescue to support the farming community across the U.S. They will host an online concert on December 9, The Farm Must Go On – A Virtual Benefit Concert, which features fellow artists Dustin Lynch, Mickey Guyton, Tyler Farr and Travis Denning.
“We are so grateful to be able to show support for what matters to us through music,” the girls said on Facebook. “That’s why we’re joining John Deere and Farm Rescue to help support our faming community. Together we are hosting a livestream concert on December 9 in appreciation of the farmers whose hard work we benefit from every single day.”
Fans can watch the show, streaming live from the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, via YouTube starting at 8 p.m. EST. No tickets are required to watch the show, but donations are encouraged. All money raised till go to Farm Rescue to provide its volunteer workshop force with meals and lodging as well as putting fuel in vehicles and machinery.
We Need Christmas Track List:
1. This Christmas (Donny Hathaway, Nadine McKinnor)
2. Holly Jolly Christmas (Johnny Marks)
3. O Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional)
4. Merry Married Christmas (Maddie Font, Taylor Kerr, Josh Kerr)
5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
6. We Need Christmas (Maddie Font, Taylor Kerr, Matthew West, AJ Pruis)