Montclair musician releases Jersey-themed album (with video)
(COURTESY OF JASON DIDNER)
In February, local musician Jason Didner released an 11-song album dedicated to maintaining a healthy mental state. This July, the artist prepares to lighten the mood and make listeners laugh with his new humorous Jersey rock album.
Titled, “It’s a Jersey Thing,” the Montclair resident’s new nine-track album musically expresses the common struggles and silly situations us New Jerseyans face on a daily basis. Between the state’s notably frustrating traffic to its classic diners, Didner’s album gives listeners a taste of his New Jersey lifestyle.
“Back in February, I couldn't help but think I had some unfinished business, some songs that I wrote over the years that went over well that just didn't get recorded in the studio,” Didner said. “Many of these songs have a common theme, which is my New Jersey roots, and I felt it was time to kind of put those out.”
The tracks that make up “It’s a Jersey Thing” have been workshopped over a period of 25-plus years. Didner first developed the lyrics for his oldest track, “Cubical,” in 1995 after graduating college.
“Coming out of college, even though I graduated into a recession, I still managed to get one of these entry level, typing in word-processing and spreadsheets kind of job in a pharmaceutical company, and they gave me a cubicle to work in,” Didner said. “Living in that world really inspired me to write a funny song about the experience.”
In “Cubical,” which is the third track on the album, Didner sings of the endless amounts of filing, stapling and phone-answering his entry level job had him do. With lyrics such as,“type until I get carpal tunnel,” and “he thinks my job’s in trouble,” you get the idea it's not exactly an enjoyable job to work in a cubicle.
Another track on “It’s a Jersey Thing,” and notably his most recognizable song to date is the album’s first song, “You Can’t Get There From Here In Jersey.”
In the year 2000, “You Can’t Get There From Here In Jersey,” was featured on National Public Radio's (NPR) automotive radio show “Car Talk.” Twenty-two years later, Didner decided to re-record the track to improve the audio quality.
“The recording quality, I didn't think, lived up to today's standards,” Didner said. “So, what I did was, I recently recorded all this stuff at home, this track and another one that I felt like wasn't up to standard, and then I decided to release it along with some stuff that I had done in the studio and put on over the years. Instead of greatest hits, it’s ‘Jersey-est’ hits.”
Along with the higher quality version of “You Can’t Get There From Here In Jersey,” Didner, with the help of his father, created an official music video. The “You Can’t Get There From Here In Jersey” music video is filled with familiar video footage of different streets and highways in New Jersey.
“I work right off of Route 22 in Mountainside, and one day on a break, I just took a walk out by the highway and I filmed the highway for four minutes,” Didner said. “And then I use the green screen effects of me performing the instruments and superimpose that.”
Didner used a similar technique to capture one of his favorite local spots, the American Diner in West Orange. While at the diner, he took a photo of a counter with two stools and superimposed two of him sitting on those stools using a green screen.
“The way it comes out is it really looks like two of me having a gripe session with each other about the traffic,” Didner said.
That music video, which premiered on June 28, has now accumulated over 300 views.
Didner will be officially premiering the entirety of “It’s a Jersey Thing” in an album launch concert on Saturday, July 23 at 5 p.m. at Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken. There, he hopes to bond with the crowd over his Jersey-centric tunes.
“Anyone listening who's from Jersey, hopefully, they'll relate and recognize a fellow traveler and see their own experiences in it,” Didner said. “And if you're from outside Jersey, hopefully, you'll discover in it some kind of universality or commonality wherever you live.”