“Free to Be…You and Me” featuring Suzi Shelton coming Nov. 18


Kindie Musicians Offer New Take on Iconic Gender Equality Song

MONTCLAIR, NJ – A wealth of childhood memories recently came back to kids-and-family singer/songwriter Jason Didner, resulting in a re-connection with the iconic children’s song “Free to Be…You and Me.” Jason then proceeded to listen again to the original recording and learn it for voice and guitar.

Free to Be...You and Me by Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam featuring Suzi Shelton

Artwork for new single “Free to Be…You and Me.” Illustrated by Hannah Tuohy Illustrations

“This song and the message of the album around it were so important in my own childhood,” Jason said. “I felt growing up that if I wanted to be a nurturing type of dad, I didn’t have to stick to a code that forbids it in order to fit anyone else’s definition of a man.”

This fall, Jason turned that connection to an essential children’s song into a project to make a new recording of the song, choosing producer Marc Bazerman, children’s singer/songwriter Suzi Shelton (SuziShelton.com), and his own band the Jungle Gym Jam (JungleGymJam.com) to bring new possibilities out in the beloved song, combining Jason’s love for the Jersey Shore sound, reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and his sense of belonging to a larger community of independent kids-and-family (“kindie” for short) artists.

Marc, also a kindie artists, leading his own band Baze and His Silly Friends (MySillyFriends.com), and also a dad, added: “As a parent Free to be You and me is a beautiful message that re-enforces my feelings about how we as a society need to accept, cherish and love our children for who they are and having them be open to all of life’s possibilities. “

Jason Didner of the Jungle Gym Jam and Suzi Shelton recording Free to Be You and Me

Jason Didner and Suzi Shelton recording vocals for a remake of “Free to Be…You and Me.”

Suzi spoke to the vitality of the new recording and what a parent who grew up on the original might expect: “Our version of this song brings new energy! Can you feel the passion in our voices? Jason and I believe in the freedom that we sing about, and the talent and expertise that Baze brings in the studio as producer allows for this mix to be heard in it’s best and truest form. The need to support each other in our journey in this land is so very important. Let’s all sing about it, shall we?”

“Free to Be…You and Me by Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam featuring Suzi Shelton” is set for release as a downloadable single on Tuesday, November 18 on BandCamp and iTunes. It will be featured on various kids-and-family radio stations leading up to the release date. This is the first single for an upcoming Jungle Gym Jam album to be released in spring 2015 to follow-up the band’s current award-winning offering, “Everyone’s Invited!”

The original song “Free to Be…You and Me” was the title song of an album that dealt with gender equality by challenging strict adherence to long-accepted traditional gender roles. The concept was created by Marlo Thomas and Friends; the song was written by Steven J. Lawrence and Bruce Hart and recorded by the New Seekers in 1972. In middle school in the early 80s, Jason’s middle school put on a play of “Free to Be…You and Me;” Jason portrayed Dudley Pippin, a boy who was embarrassed for crying in front of the principal because he was unfairly disciplined for another child’s action and learns that “It’s All Right to Cry.”

For more information or an advance copy of the single, contact Jason Didner at 201-838-1205 or Jason@junglegymjam.com.

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