My music for your best mental health
My lyrics touch upon themes of self compassion, optimism, conflict resolution and sense of humor. These words are supported with wide-ranging classic rock and singer/songwriter styles I love, influenced by Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Billy Joel, Eddie Van Halen, Aimee Mann and Bon Jovi.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, especially as we head into the cold-weather months, I plan to perform online via Zoom and other platforms every weekend so we can still have entertainment in a community setting, providing an important boost for our sense of well being. So far I’ve given fundraiser performances for Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, the Codey Fund for Mental Health and Montclair Ambulance Unit.
You may also know me as the singer and co-founder of Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam, a rock band for kids and families – an act that has taken me up and down the East coast from Massachusetts to Virginia and to such great venues as The Stone Pony in Asbury Park and the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Since 1994 I’ve been writing and performing songs in coffeehouses, sports bars, and bookstores. Early in my singer/songwriter days I found my voice with epic, progressive rockers like “Wall of Sound” and quirky tunes with humor from my life’s experiences like “Cubicle.” I really broke through in the winter of 2001 when my ode to Jersey driving, “You Can’t Get There from Here in Jersey” got airplay on NPR’s Car Talk program. The single also made it to the show’s “Best Of” CD.
When 9/11 changed America forever, I felt great pain for my near and dear New York City. My very next time into the city a week later (a business meeting at the U.N.) brought me face-to-face with all those “Missing” flyers, with the ink streaking in the misty rain. It felt like my city was crying and I needed to feel her tears mingle with my own. On that walk from Port Authority Bus Terminal to the U.N., I had already written the bulk of “Stand Tall, United” in my head. That song would help anchor my first commercially released full-length album American Road, which was built on themes of how 9/11 changed us as a people. The album was about hiding and re-emerging; resenting and forgiving, ultimately taking the high road back to brotherhood and sisterhood.
Subsequently I recorded more tracks and used online collaboration to give them band arrangements. I enjoy those songs and would like very much to re-record, mix and master them to the level of quality that I’ve started to achieve with my Jungle Gym Jam records. One pathway I’m rediscovering during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is to collaborate online with fellow music professionals at F-Jam Studios Online Music Collaborations.
I’m very much looking forward to returning to live, in-person performances, mixing sets of grown-up music into my family-friendly gigs. Until it’s safe to do so, I’m enjoying playing live on you computer screen every weekend.