Sandra Dedrick is an American singer-songwriter and original member of The Free Design. Originally on Enoch Light’s Project 3 label, The Free Design began recording at A&R studios with engineer Phil Ramone; their first album, Kites Are Fun was released in 1967 with Sandra as the lead vocalist. The title track was released as a single, and made Billboard’s Top 40 adult contemporary chart. The group went on to record 6 more records.
Dedrick was born in Boston, Massachusetts — the eldest of 6 children in the Dedrick family. Sandra studied piano at the State University of New York at Fredonia at the age of 18. In 1964, she relocated to New York City, and with brothers Chris and Bruce, started a vocal harmony group and played free coffee house shows under the name ‘The Village Fare’. Chis began to write original songs, and the trio recorded a demo, which gleaned several offers of recording contracts.
In their original incarnation, The Free Design appeared on many TV shows including Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Dick Cavett Show, and 13 times on The Mike Douglas Show. In addition, they played clubs, universities, and also sang with several full orchestras – Buffalo, Birmingham Ala., and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras. However, due to lack of promotion, commercial success eluded the group. Combined with their own growing families and the military draft, the forward momentum slowed and The Free Design disbanded.
In 1999, after 25+ years of silence, The Free Design music began to mysteriously reappear in various places around the world, beginning in Japan. As a result of this new interest, a Seattle, Washington record company called Light in the Attic re-issued all their albums in both vinyl and CD. They were also asked to record for a Brian Wilson tribute record in Germany. With renewed interest in the group, The Free Design reunited and released the Cosmic Peekaboo album in 2001.
In 2006, a Free Design song called “Love You” began to have a musical career all its own, being included on the soundtrack to the movie, Stranger Than Fiction, Showtime’s Weeds and was also used in many international commercial placements such as Toyota.
In 2010, Chris Dedrick, the main composer and arranger for The Free Design and The Star-Scape Singers passed away after a long battle with cancer. In 2012 Sandra recorded and released the album It’s a Blue Hill Day: A Tribute to Christopher Dedrick in his memory. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada, where she writes poetry, songs and children’s books. She is also an avid nature photographer, artist, and occasional music educator.
The Free Design may profess to be “fun,” but like the best soft pop, they’re also smart, innovative and deceptively rewarding.
Matthew Weiner, Stylus Magazine
Love You contains re-releases of three original Free Design songs (“Love You”, “Pineapple Crabapple”, and “Lullaby”) as well as seven new tracks including two songs by Sandra’s late brother and The Free Design co-founder, Christopher Dedrick, (“Imagination”; “Grandpapa”); plus covers of works by Thad Jones & Alec Wilder (“A Child is Born”), Greg Brown (“Rooty Toot Toot”), and Carl Franzen (“On the Road”).
Featuring performances from Tom Szczesniak, Neil Swainson, Terry Clarke, Michael Francis, Stephan Szczesniak, Rob Piltch, and Ellen, Chris, and Bruce Dedrick.
It’s a Blue Hill Day
“It’s a Blue Hill Day” is the first solo album sung and produced by Sandra (Sandy) Dedrick who was the lead singer in The Free Design, a soft rock group composed of brothers and sisters, Chris, Bruce, Ellen and Sandy Dedrick. (The Free Design released seven albums between 1967 – 1973, six of them with Enoch Light’s Project 3 records. A ‘reunion’ album was released by Marina Records in 2001, and all the recordings have been reissued both in vinyl and cd form several times in the 2000s. Their remarkable story can be found on their website.)
Sandra Dedrick, sister of well-known composer, Chris Dedrick, (both originally members of The Free Design), sings ten of his beautifully lyrical, mostly unrecorded songs with a band of notable Canadian jazz legends such as Tom Szczesniak and Guido Basso.
[The Free Design]’s songs are uniformly well arranged and performed, sparkling with some of the clearest sound of the era…
Dominique Leone, pitchfork.com