“Carry On” –  Ed Learns Vocals  & Harmonies

The 90′s had just begun. 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 would lose my job, my new car. I quit my band and an important relationship would come to an end. Clearly, things were on a downhill trajectory. I did, however, have one thing that could not be taken away from me. My music.

I would not be idol during these dark times. I would now take this new found opportunity of free time and use it to its full capacity. I built a small recording studio in a rented room, which was a converted garage, Complete with a checkerboard floor I installed. 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 would compose called “Carry On”.

With my trusty Fostex 4-track 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. It sounded very interesting. I would come up with the melody but realized it needed more 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 finally come together. Using all my time to learn about vocals I was beginning to understand how harmonies actually worked.

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 bit more of a heavy edge to it.

Where in previous songs I had written and recorded, like “Dreamin” and “New Day”, which had an almost Michael McDonald baritone vocal range. The song “Carry On” was in a high tenor range. This was new to me. But I went 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 important 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 me and save me.

21 years later I would find this original 4-track recording of “Carry On”. But being able to share it would not be without some work. As piecing it together again would be quite another challenge. Since I no longer had the 4-track recorder I had originally recorded the song on. 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 that the recording was on. But technology gives us some awesome tools.

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

  1. Carry On Ed Melendez 3:28