Exclusive: The War and Treaty Say It’s a “Humbling Experience” Performing on ‘Christmas at Graceland’

The spirit of Elvis Presley will come alive with the new holiday special Christmas at Graceland, which features an array of artists across genres performing beloved songs from Presley’s esteemed catalog. Among the many artists who are honored to perform is The War and Treaty, the husband-and-wife duo of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter. They’re part of an A-list lineup that features Post Malone, Lana Del Rey, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Lainey Wilson, Alanis Morissette, and Kane Brown.

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“Graceland is historic all year ’round. However, during the Christmas season, the mansion comes alive with a mesmerizing sparkle,” The War and Treaty tells American Songwriter in an exclusive statement. “The holiday special is not merely a time of celebration, but a chance to honor the enduring legacy of Elvis Presley as well as preserve the essence of Elvis’ festive spirit. We can embrace the magic of Christmas and enjoy the timeless allure of Graceland.”

The Grammy-nominated couple will be performing a groundbreaking song from Presley’s career, “If I Can Dream.” Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s history-making “I Have a Dream” speech, the song was written by Walter Earl Brown and recorded by Presley in the wake of King’s assassination in 1968. The song touches on themes of hope and unity as Presley passionately sings, There must be peace and understanding sometime / Strong winds of promise that will blow away the doubt and fear / If I can dream of a warmer sun / Where hope keeps shining on everyone.

[RELATED: How to Watch the ‘Christmas at Graceland’ Holiday Special]

“Elvis radiated a divine presence, a spirit that was unmistakably touched by God,” the duo rave, adding that they’re looking forward to performing “If I Can Dream” at Graceland and embracing “what the song stands for.” “He possessed an undeniable essence that permeated every aspect of his being.”

Tanya says her first memory of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is when her mother played his version of “How Great Thou Art” off his 1967 album of the same name. She cites “That’s All Right” as her favorite Presley song, while her husband calls “Love Me Tender” his favorite. They also agree that his renditions of Blue Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is Back in Town,” and “White Christmas” are synonymous with the holiday season.”

Each of the artists will perform live from inside the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee, marking the first time a televised concert will broadcast from the estate. Viewers will also get to see never-before broadcast footage of Presley. The special is produced by actress Riley Keough, daughter of the late Lisa Marie Presley and granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. Keough became the sole owner of the Graceland estate following her mother’s death in January 2023.

“In our wildest dreams, we never imagined that we would find ourselves standing on the hallowed grounds of Elvis’ estate, let alone performing the very song that altered the course of his career,” The War and Treaty professs. “It is a surreal and humbling experience to be a part of Elvis’ dream, to champion the causes he fought for, even in the face of adversity.

“We carry the torch of his legacy, a legacy built on love and music, with the utmost honor and reverence,” they continue. “It is a privilege to continue his mission, spreading his message of unity and joy through the power of song. Elvis’ spirit lives on through us, and we are forever grateful to be a part of his enduring legacy. In the words of Elvis, ‘When you can’t say it, sing it.'”

Christmas At Graceland airs live on Wednesday (November 29) at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. It will also stream on Peacock.

 Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

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