The Free Design

The Free Design were an American soft-pop/vocal group that released six albums on Project 3 Records between 1967 and 1971, plus a seventh on Ambrotype in 1972. Their sound, characterized by soft orchestral arrangements, jazzy rhythmic undercurrents and light, breezy harmonies, has retroactively been termed “sunshine pop.”

Members: Chris Dedrick (guitar, trumpet, vocals, recorder), Sandy Dedrick (keyboards, vocals), Ellen Dedrick (vocals, percussion, 1968-present), Bruce Dedrick (guitar, vocals, trombone, 1966-71)

The Free Design consisted of the singing Dedrick family, starting with the older siblings Chris, Sandy, and Bruce Dedrick. Their younger sister, Ellen, joined on their second album.

The Dedrick’s grew up in Delevan, N.Y., in a musical household. Their father, trombonist Art Dedrick, handled arrangements for big band leader Vaughn Monroe. After a bout of polio left him wheelchair-bound, he became a music teacher and served as staff arranger at the radio stations WGR and WBEN in nearby Buffalo.

Art’s brother, trumpeter Rusty Dedrick, recorded with Don Elliot during the 1950s and played in orchestras behind Claude Thornhill, Larry Son, Richard Maltby, and Red Norvo.

In 1966, the three older Dedrick siblings moved to New York City, where they performed as a vocal trio in Greenwich Village. Chris wrote most of their original repertoire. At Art’s suggestion, he started writing horn arrangements. The Free Design signed to Enoch Light’s label, Project 3 Total Sound.


  • Kites Are Fun (1967)
  • You Could Be Born Again (1968)
  • Heaven / Earth (1969)
  • Sing for Very Important People (1970)
  • Stars / Time / Bubbles / Love (1970)
  • One by One (1971)
  • There Is a Song (1972)


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