Jason Didner recording on electronic keyboard

Jason Didner

Jersey Rock with Jersey Humor... and Heart

Many of the songwriters Jason Didner admires can stretch their lyrical range from funny to rather serious, often over the course of one album. The Beatles excel at this, as do Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Harry Nilsson. Jason carries this tradition forward, setting comical observational rants to music, as he does on “People Against the Abuse of Acronyms (PAAA) or sounding heartfelt alarm bells on “Disinformation Overload,” both on the same album. Some tracks, like his new album’s anthemic title track “Digital Carnival,” bring the humor and earnestness to bear in the same song.

Jason and his wife Amy often co-write their lyrics, prompted by something that comes up in a kitchen table conversation or on a car ride. One day Jason offhandedly remarked to Amy that he needed to get an ETA from his GPS. Amy, who remembered their long-running joke about too many acronyms, connected Jason’s statement with the acronym joke and the two started brainstorming the song “People Against the Abuse of Acronyms (PAAA).”

Together, Jason and Amy have seen the humor in life’s thornier challenges, like Amy’s numerous medical conditions, which require them to frequently register online for doctor appointments, using the dreaded “Patient Portal.” Their shared frustration with these web sites led to a comical musical gem of that title.

On Jason’s five solo albums, he mostly plays all the instruments other than sharing certain tracks with some featured artists. When performing live, Jason takes the stage either as a solo acoustic act or with his new band Jason Didner and the Drive. In 2023 Jason gave a solo performance opening for New York rock-n-roll poet Willie Nile at Montclair’s Outpost in the Burbs concert series.

This Jersey rocker became known for his humorous side when his song “You Can’t Get There from Here in Jersey” attained airplay on National Public Radio’s Car Talk program in 2001. A more recent re-recording of this tune landed in Asbury Park Press’ 10 Best Songs by New Jersey Artists. Over the years, he’s worked in some material with more serious messages as well, like his 2022 album “Salt and Sand: Rock Songs to Heal the Mind,” which contains in its lyrics the hard-earned lessons Jason absorbed while having mental health issues hit close to home in his family.

The sounds of Jason’s songs serve as settings for the messages in the words of the songs. “The lyrics provide the rhythms of the syllables, forming the melody and the accompaniment,” Jason explains. “From there I choose a musical style that best supports the song’s story. It could be reggae, hard rock, a folk ballad or even a yacht rock song. The lyrics usually guide me to the music, though I have occasionally had success starting with a musical idea.”

Aside from the five solo albums, Jason also recorded two albums with a rock band whose music is intended for kids and families. Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam earned the Parents’ Choice Approved designation for their debut album “Everyone’s Invited” and gave many kids their first rock concert experience at the Bronx Zoo, Coney Island Boardwalk and the legendary Stone Pony.