The 90s had just begun, and I had just moved to the city of Claremont, CA. This was far from anyone I knew. These would be some of the darkest times I would face and endure alone. In the span of just a few months, I lost my job and my new car. I quit my band and lost a significant relationship. Things were on a downward trajectory. I did, however, have one thing that could not be taken away from me: my music.

During these dark times, the newfound opportunity of free time helped motivate me out of my plight. I built a small recording studio in a rented garage and added a checkerboard floor. Then I started laying the groundwork for learning how to use my vocal abilities after the demise of my last band, Fable.

My vocals, or lack thereof, seemed to be an issue. This was about to change. One of the first projects to make that happen was brought on by a throwaway song I composed called “Carry On.”

With my trusty Fostex 4-track in hand and a myriad of keyboards, I experimented with recording music and vocals, modifying a song’s pitch, and multi-tracking vocal parts. The song “Carry On” came about by playing a sampled guitar patch from my Roland U20. I added tons of flange to the crappy guitar sample, and it ended up sounding very interesting. I came up with the melody but realized it needed more work in the area of vocals.

I was never known for my ability to sing or harmonize vocally. In my two previous bands, harmonies were not required or ever really used, but there was no time like the present to learn how and why to use them.

I continued to work on my voice until it all seemed to come together finally. Using all my time to learn about vocals, I began to understand how harmonies work.

After penning the lyrics and recording all the instruments for the song, I would finally add my vocals. This song would be quite a departure musically from anything I had written before. This song had a heavy edge to it.

In previous songs I had written and recorded, such as “Dreamin'” and “New Day,” I had a vocal range that was almost as baritone as Michael McDonald’s. The song “Carry On” was in the high tenor range. This was a first for me. But I stayed with it. This would be the epiphany I had been waiting for.

I would sequence and record the main music for the song on the first track. The lead vocal and harmonies would be recorded on the remaining three tracks.

The song would ultimately be the stepping stone for every song that came after it. It would be an influential song in that it helped me to see the potential of my vocal abilities. Things would get better for me personally as well. Jesus would ultimately find and save me.

Twenty-one years later, I would find this original 4-track recording of “Carry On.” However, sharing it would require some effort. Reassembling it would be another challenge. Since I no longer had the 4-track recorder on which I had initially recorded the song, I would have to piece the song together again by reversing side B of my 4-track cassette recording and then manipulating and matching them with the A side of the cassette tape of the recording. But technology gives us some excellent tools.

So below are the results of the effort. Finally digitized, I present the song “Carry On.”

  1. Carry On Ed Melendez 3:27

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