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A Very Surprising Collaboration, 38 Years in the Making 

On BandLab, my new friend K'chiro took a very old song of mine in a very new direction! Back in 1986 I composed “Stakeout” on synthesizer and performed it in my high school talent show. Recently I revisited my earlier instrumentals and gave them fresh recordings using the latest technology. I made a version in BandLab and invited other musicians to add to it what they would like. 

K'chiro added guitar, bass and drums to my layers of synth, giving the song a more blues/rock edge. And then he asked me to sing on it. This pushed me into a more flexible way of thinking. Sure it had been an instrumental for 38 years, but why couldn't we play around with giving it lyrics? It could be fun and help build my ability to write songs to prompts. 

So, I give you this new version of “Stakeout” that features my lyrics and vocals, K'chiro's multi-instrumental parts and, of course, my original synth composition in the mix.


▶️ Play the new “Stakeout” collaboration on BandLab

I hope you have as much fun listening as we did re-imagining this song from my teen years. 

Follow me on BandLab and jam along with me there! 

For reference, here's the official video of Stakeout prior to this collaboration. 

📰 Read my story about “Stakeout” in my previous blog post here. 



Made in Japan...and New Jersey - an International Collaboration 

Radio Alert: This collaboration will air tonight Nov. 27 at 7PM Eastern-US on

I'm really excited to share this international collaboration with you! It's “Molasses Blues” with my lead vocal and rhythm guitar, plus the drums, bass and lead guitar of Japan-based blues virtuoso Keiton “K'chiro” Itoh. He's got that Stevie Ray Vaugh-type twang to his guitar sound, and boy does that benefit this song! 


Amy had written Molasses Blues years ago, before a pancreas transplant put her Type 1 diabetes in remission. The lyric captured her predicament of having wildly fluctuating blood sugar and spiraling complications, all while craving sweets. And it was the quintessential blues lyric, boiled down to its essence: 

No sadness fades slower than molasses blues 
No sadness fades slower than molasses blues 
Takes longer than scrapin' tar off the devil's shoes

 I performed it with other musicians at a few open mic nights and then made the official recording and lyric video for my album “Side Effects” earlier this year.  

Bandlab: Evolution of online musical collaboration

Over the past 2 decades I've enjoyed collaborating musically with talented and creative people in other parts of the world. 

But never before has it been quite this fast and fluid to record my parts and let other musicians add theirs. Now I don't even have to upload and download huge files as part of the process. On Sunday night I recorded the rhythm guitar and vocal to “Molasses Blues” and published these parts to Bandlab with an open invite for any musician to add their parts to it. 

K'chiro came along and clicked the “Fork” button, which then gave him a copy of my project. Now he could add his tracks and mix the volume levels. He could also play with the stereo arrangement (bass on the left, rhythm guitar on the right, vocals in the middle, more noticeable through headphones or a car stereo) to his liking. Last night he published his changes. Now another musician can fork either my original or the version where K'chiro added his parts. Rumor has it that another musician is working on an organ part. I'm kind of geeking out over this! 

Bandlab is equal parts collaboration and social network for music. It acknowledges the many different ways people enjoy and interact with music. Most of us listen to music around the house, at work, in the car, as part of TV and movie soundtracks, and even when we're out at the grocery store. On special occasion we get to go to concerts. Many of us sing or play an instrument. Some of us write our own songs. A very small minority have gotten rich and famous doing it. We all enjoy music somewhere along this continuum. Bandlab brings together musicians at any/all levels to participate in the music however we like. It even offers tools to help beginners jump right in and make music, much as Apple GarageBand does. So if you're a fan of an artist and you play a little, that artist may let you fork their track and add your bit to it. 

📝 Sign up with Bandlab and follow my artist page.


About the Guitar I Played on this Collab

Jason Didner with the Ibanez Artist AR30  guitar he got for his Bar Mitzvah.

I played the rhythm guitar part on the guitar my grandparents, aunt and parents surprised me with on my Bar Mitzvah! At that time I wasn't thinking about guitar. I was a keyboardist and I was crazy about synthesizers. But I was overjoyed getting this guitar and I set about learning my way around it. Over time I was drawn back to the keyboard. Until I was almost 16 and saw my first rock concert: Van Halen. Watching Eddie shred so joyously made me want to do that too. Then I couldn't put down the guitar! 

It's a 1983 (I think) Ibanez Artist AR30. Only 1,300 guitars of this model were manufactured. 

As legend has it, my grandparents walked into Sam Ash on 48th street, taking their place in line among the spiked, mohawked punk rockers to ask a sales rep about the best guitar to give their grandson as a special gift. 

When I got deep into Eddie Van Halen's style of playing, I needed a guitar with a whammy bar built-in, something this guitar does not have. So it saw a lot less playing time until recently. Lately I've found a role for it in my recording efforts. It has a great feel and tone when I don't need to dive-bomb a whammy bar! 

This guitar does have a bit of “character” though. When I was 16 I bumped into a desk with it and cracked the paint and wood around the volume and tone knobs. I also lost a tone knob in the process and replaced it with a generic knob back then. I've ordered a matching knob over eBay. I'll keep you updated on this…

I hope you enjoyed the collab and found the backstory interesting. I'd love to see your comment with your stories about international friendships or collaboration made possible by technology. Or how you may use tools, skills or items from your childhood that hold special meaning. 

It's always great to get your comments. It makes my day! 

Musically yours, 

Jason Didner
Jersey Rock with Jersey Humor… and Heart

My Songs are Finding their Way on Spotify 

Since 1999 I've posted music online in hopes that listeners like you would discover it and relate to the song's message and intent. Back then there was

Flash forward 24 years and Spotify is the go-to place to have your album tracks heard (or not). The music business now works from the bottom up more than ever before. Record companies used to pluck artists from obscurity and push their music to radio stations. Now, those same companies look at what is already a hit with listeners and then sign the makers of those already-proven hits. 

With the help of a service called Groover, I was able to pitch a couple of my songs to a few discerning playlist curators on Spotify. Some of those playlisters added my tunes when they sensed a good fit.

Playlist Title/Link Curator Song
All Monkey Gone To Heaven Blue Orchid Give Up the Ghost
Rock Acùstico | Internacional | As Melhores | Acoustic Rock | Unplugged | The Best | Grunge Manga Rosa Playlists Give Up the Ghost
Playlist Showland Productions Side Effects
Breathe The Music Stellar Voices Side Effects
Pop Squad Tata Kim Side Effects
Music for Monday Jon Pinter Cubicle

If you listen to Spotify, please give these playlists a go and support all the artists you enjoy hearing. 

How Groover Works

Groover connects artists to music curators - playlisters, journalists, radio hosts, and concert bookers. While it's strictly against Spotify policy (and artistic integrity standards) for playlist curators to sell guaranteed slots on their lists, there's another way. Artists can pay Groover to share their pitch with curators, who are then free to accept or reject the pitch. The curators make a cut of this money, incentivizing them to listen and provide feedback, not necessarily to use the music. You're not paying for placement; you're paying to advertise to the curators.

If an artist has a budget set aside for music promotion and wants to put some of their tracks in a position to be heard, they can give this a try. 

It took two campaigns for me to start to see a noticeable increase in listeners. My songs don't always fit neatly in a given subgenre, so matching my music with the tastes of the right curators based on genre is a learning curve. The table above lists the curators who chose to include a song I pitched. Many of my other pitches ended up getting feedback that the song I sent was not exactly the genre they promote.  

I hope I will continue to find my way to new listeners and deepen my connection with existing ones. My second Groover pitch got more results than my first; if I see this continue to improve, I'll stick with this as part of the process of promoting my new musical releases. 

Spotify's library grows by about 80,000 songs a day. Standing out in that crowd to someone, for a moment, is a good start. 

Earbud headphones

Advocating for Julia Beckley, an Advocate for Adaptive Sport 

Last night I gave an online benefit concert to help Julia Beckley raise funds to replace the racing wheelchair that was stolen out of her garage this week. As of this writing, she is more than ⅓ of the way to her $7,500 fundraising goal. She can still use more support. 

During the benefit show, we took a bit of time for Julia to appear onscreen and chat with me about her participation in accessible sport, some of the races she's been in and a race she dreams of taking part in. 

💸 Donate to Julia's GoFundMe page. 

📺 Watch a local news interview (ABC affiliate in Colorado) with Julia about adaptive sport.

Here's a replay of the benefit concert from last night. 

Here's the official music video for “Run With My Troubles," with an appearance by Julia at the 1:44 mark. 




Big Changes in the Live Streaming Performance Landscape 

Sessions Live has Shut Down

Over the holiday week in December, my friends who give streaming concerts from home started posting on social media that Sessions Live had gone out of business, taking with them the last of their in-app currency that fans had tipped them. Performers who earned that currency (or at least their 2/3 of it) were not able to cash it out. Billboard Magazine's web site confirmed the closure.

Live Streamer Cafe is Now Free for Artists to Use

My preferred live streaming platform, Live Streamer Cafe, initially operated by charging artists a monthly subscription fee. In turn, LSC would not touch the artists' tips - simply provide buttons to their Paypal/Venmo accounts so audience can tip them directly. Artists only have to share the usual small percentage with PayPal or Venmo, not the massive 1/3 cut that Sessions took. 

But since Sessions folded, Martyn and Kristopher, the founders of LSC, decided to go with a "freemium" model for artists. It's free to stream. But if an artist elects to subscribe at $1, $2, or $3 per month, they will be listed higher on the site's home page and easier for audience to discover, more so at the higher subscription level.

I am a coach at Live Streamer Cafe and can answer your technical questions about how to use it as an artist. 

Live Streamer Cafe Remains My Favorite Venue to Give Online Concerts 

I've given streaming concerts since 2004 when there was no video - just choppy audio and chat. Everyone in the room would have an opportunity to "grab the mic," which resulted in chaos during virtual open mic events and even concerts. 

Since then, Concert Window came and went. I had a very difficult experience putting on an online concert with StageIt where most of my audience couldn't see or hear me. We quickly scrambled over to Zoom where a new issue popped up - "What's the link?!??!?" 

Sessions Live had moved the process to an app that worked, but between their in-app currency and their convoluted layout for watching the show, having a strange cartoon avatar represent you in a "party" and navigating multiple tabs, my audience was confused and distracted from the show. Also, dealing with the in-app currency made the process more overwhelming for my existing fans. 

Along came Live Streamer Cafe, an intuitive and elegant environment for watching and interacting with a solo performer. This is a virtual neighborhood coffeehouse, comfortable and intimate. I give a streaming performance every 2-3 weeks and manage to attract a friendly, international audience most times. People in Europe stay up very late to catch my show. 

Kristopher, the site's developer, continues to do a great job listening to and implementing artists' suggestions, building the ideal venue to help an artist entertain their audience, raise funds for good causes, earn tips and sell merch. One key to this is the addition of "compliments," which come from a dropdown list and contain words and graphics of applause and appreciation. He creates new compliments that might even fit the theme of a song selection, like "Bigman Forever" when I cover a Bruce Springsteen song and a Clarence "Big Man" Clemons sax solo section comes up. 

Martyn, the site's charismatic co-founder, has created a YouTube channel with numerous tutorials on using the platform's various features to best effect. He's also a marvelous singer/keyboardist with an amazing home studio setup that rivals broadcast television. 

Using ReStream to Broadcast to LSC, YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Simultaneously

I subscribe to which lets me multi-stream to Twitch (my chosen back-end for Live Streamer Cafe), YouTube, and Facebook all at the same time. During the show I urge users watching on any other platform to join the interactivity at Live Streamer Cafe. It's a good way for my Facebook friends, YouTube subscribers and even newcomers to discover my live streaming shows in the first place. 

Artists and Audience - Sign up for Live Streamer Cafe for Free Today!

Hop on over to Live Streamer Cafe's web site and click Sign Up. Whether you're looking for quality entertainment in a friendly online , international space, or you want to put on a show, you will see why I consider it the best.


Notable Music from the Mastodon Community 

Here are some tracks by fellow artists on Mastodon I found intriguing - both the music and the way these artists tell their story on the open-source microblogging platform. 

I've embedded two playlists from the third-party site BNDCMPR that enables playlists of Bandcamp tracks. The first playlist has songs with lyrics/vocals; the second contains instrumentals. 

Hit me up on Mastodon to let me know about Bandcamp tracks I should check out for possible inclusion on these lists. Artists, listen to these tracks and promote each other. You may be tired of shouting into the void about your own music all the time. You'll get better audience engagement and make new fans more readily if you mix in promoting other acts you're excited about. 

Musicians of Mastodon curated by Jason Didner

Go to this playlist on bndcmpr to buy a song you like and support the artist. 

Musicians of Mastodon - The Instrumentals

Go to this playlist on bndcmpr to buy a song you like and support the artist. 


Follow me on Mastodon.