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A Santa Cause: To Florida with Love

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

In the spirit of Christmas, a group of Nashville musicians and recording artists are donating their time and talent to A Santa Cause to produce an album that will benefit victims of Florida’s Hurricane Michael. The project includes 12 Christmas songs that will be available on all major streaming platforms.

A Santa Cause (to Florida with Love) is the brainchild of Leah Lowrance of Nashville’s LeLo Creative Management. Leah came up with the idea after talking with an industry friend who was concerned about the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael in her hometown of Panama City two months ago. Nearly 20,000 people were left homeless, and Leah wanted to do something to help. “That’s when I got the idea to make a record.” Leah reached out to Ryan Poole, a music producer who owns The Hideout recording studio on Music Row. Together, they have helped artists and bands raise money to make records through crowdfunding campaigns. “This is like a reverse Kickstarter,” Leah explains. “Instead of raising money to record an album, we’re recording an album to raise money.”

The artists involved with the charity project will use their social media platforms to encourage their fans and followers to donate to A Santa Cause via a PayPal money pool, which allows the money to be transferred instantly. The proceeds will be used to provide Christmas toys for kids in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. Organizers are working hand-in-hand with the Panama City chapter of Toys for Tots to purchase and distribute the toys.

(Photo: Roger Jaeger on sitar with producer Ryan Poole)

Watch the video below!

A Santa Cause is an ambitious undertaking. Leah and Ryan (who is donating the use of his studio for the recordings) started calling their friends with the goal of making the entire project happen in 12 days. Since it would typically take several months to produce a full-length album, Ryan says they are keeping the production simple in order to get the songs recorded, mixed, and released in time for Christmas. “For example, some songs are just acoustic guitar or piano, and we’re not doing drum sets. The arrangements are a little more stripped back, which helps us make up time.”

(Photo: Jutt Huffman and Alyssa Jacey record vocals)

Versatile singer-songwriter Alyssa Jacey (who has opened for Bruno Mars, Andy Grammer, The Wailers, and Shawn Colvin) put a jazzy spin on the version of Baby It’s Cold Outside that she recorded with her husband, country reggae rocker Jutt Huffman. The flirtatious song is a perfect duet for the newlyweds. Just before the recording session, Alyssa said, “I listen to how cute it is with them singing back and forth to each other, and it’s going to be fun to sing this with him.” Jutt added, “hopefully it’s magical and captures the Christmas spirit.” As a touring artist who does about 20 shows a year in Florida, Jutt witnessed the aftermath of a previous hurricane (Irma) when it devastated the Florida Keys in September 2017.

(Photo: Calvin Rogers records the piano track for Baby It's Cold Outside).

The Simple Truce is another group contributing to the album. The Americana duo, which is comprised of Jake Anderson and Rachel Taylor, perform the Christmas classic Let it Snow. When Ryan and Leah contacted them to be part of the project, Jake says he was excited for the opportunity. “Connecting what we do with real people and real causes is part of the bigger ‘Why’ that drives us to create.” He also has a personal reason for wanting to be involved; he has friends and family in Florida. “I went to high school and college in central Florida and I know what it’s like to be evacuated and watch as communities and the homes of your family and neighbors are destroyed.” After Hurricane Michael, Jake’s father and brother spent two weekends sleeping in relief tents and helping in the cleanup efforts. “It left me wishing I could have been a part of it; so I’m grateful to be able to give back in this way.”

(Photo: Stewart McKee on keys; Jacob Everett Wallace on guitar and vocals)

Additional songs and performers are listed below:

Hard Candy Christmas/Carmen Brandy

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas/Ryan Steele

Joy to the World/Roger Jaeger

Wonderful Christmas Time/Dawson Hollow

White Christmas/Caleb Hoffman

Blue Christmas/Matt McAndrew (The Voice, Season 7 Runner-up)

The Christmas Song/Taryn Antrobus

Silent Night/Will Pellerin

Mistletoe/Pierce Lyons

Oh Come Emmanuel/Jacob Everett Wallace

The songs are being mastered by Grammy nominated Dan Shike (Lumineers, Third Eye Blind, Chris Janson) of Tone and Volume. Original artwork provided by graphic artist Alec Strickland.

Any proceeds that continue to come in after Christmas (from digital streaming) will be sent to support other hurricane relief efforts.

Follow this link to make a donation to buy Christmas toys for kids in the Panhandle.

Songs will continue to be added as they are recorded; the full album will be available December 19.

Click HERE to pre-save the album on Spotify.

Listen to the collection of Christmas songs at the links below.

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