I’m no rock star, nor would I ever want to be. I’m not the most prolific song writer in the world, but I have written a few; some good, some not. When I was 5 years old, I cherished an old radio my Grandfather gave to me. As I stared at the inner workings of this vacuum tube filled wonder, “Top 40” hits from the days of 1971 filled my head.
I knew that I wanted to be a singer, but I also admired the D.J. at AM 1150 CKOC radio for having all those records. I loved being able to call the “Hit Line” and have my favorite song played.
And so, I would stand behind
a screen or partition of some sort, and sing all the hits, announcing them at
the end, just like my favorite D.J. Click here to hear me singing when I was 5.
At 8 years old, the drums were my first instrument, but that didn’t satisfy my desire to sing. I needed to learn guitar or piano or something. When you really want something, you go for it, and I did. A little bit of guitar here, piano there, learning bits and pieces of both, I eventually favored the piano.
I was a master at no instrument, but could play drums, guitar and piano well enough to write songs, and finally had something of my own to sing to!
I accumulated some gear and built myself a little basement studio where I spent most of my time. Then came the recordings.
Over the next 20 years I
would record songs, buy new gear and record more songs until now, when I can
honestly tell you that I have recorded everywhere from bedrooms to studios, but
mostly bedrooms (even closets and mini-malls at night – great echo!). I don’t do it for a living. I just do it for me – and you. I hope you enjoy.
Here are a few of my songs. Most of them were written in the early to mid 90's, but a couple were done in the late 80's. Just click on the titles to download.
This song was originally written and recorded in 1991 on a 4 track recorder. In 1995, we took it into the studio and re-recorded it. What a mess! Letting other people tamper with your music is like someone telling you how to raise your children. I hated that version of the song, so I re-recorded it a few years ago to try and achieve the 80’s sound I was originally looking for. It was recorded in my basement on a Celeron 800mhz using Cakewalk Home Studio and was later re-mixed in early 2015 with better guitar tracks and real hi-hat cymbals. It was also processed to sound more like analog tape. The picture above of me with a guitar was taken during the recording. It was cold in my basement, hence the jacket. It was the first time in years that I played guitar on a track instead of having someone else do it. I had been exploring the concept of "open D tuning". This involves tuning the guitar differently than the standard way. I find that it allows me to think of the guitar more like a piano, in that it's a more linear way of playing, and much easier.
This one is a ballad written in 1996. The music was born during an evening with a friend of mine, while we fiddled with my keyboards. The next day, I came up with the lyrics in the shower, using the wall as a fake keyboard. Wrapped in a towel and dripping, I wrote the words down. I recorded it in a bedroom closet in my apartment using an Intel 386 computer as the sequencer, and my 4 track (Fostex MultiTracker 360). It was later re-recorded in a studio with an engineer who was less than cooperative. The person who was supposed to produce the track was making it sound like country, so I ended up doing it myself. After stepping on the engineer’s toes a few times, and tricking him into putting more compression on my voice, the mix isn’t too bad. I had to do some re-mastering at home to bring it to where I could stand it.
This song was recorded in 1994 in the bedroom of an apartment I lived in. The keyboards including bass and drum programming were done on an Intel 386 - 16mhz computer using a DOS based MIDI sequencer program by Creative Labs called "Voyetra". This was then dumped to my 4 track (Fostex MultiTracker 160) where I did some "track bouncing" to achive the background vocals, and then added the lead vocal. My wife (girlfriend at that time) encouraged me to do the falsetto adlibs at the end... And, yes, I know it sounds a bit like a John Sakata tune.
"Just One Touch" was written for my wife when I met her. Again, it was recorded in a bedroom in my apartment. It wasn't until we moved in together that I recorded this song. I had a cold that just wouldn't go away and I got tired of waiting so I recorded the vocals anyway. You can hear some grit in my voice. It turned out that I wasn't sick, but I was allergic to her cat. The song was recorded on the Fostex 4 track, with the help of my old 386 computer and the DOS based MIDI software. The vocals were recorded very late at night and at the end of the song, it took me a few takes to get what I wanted. After about 5 takes, the neighbors were banging on the wall and yelling "stop!" Fortunately, you can't hear it in the song.
"After All" was recorded in a big old 24 track studio back in 1989, when we recorded on tape. (For those of you who are wondering, we don't use tape anymore, it's all done on computers.) We filmed a bunch of stuff during the sessions and I recently put together a video using some of that footage. "After All" was release as an "Airplay" single, meaning it was only released to radio, not to stores. It was played at radio stations across Canada several times a day for about six months. I was standing in line in the bank one day and it came on their radio. I had some trouble composing myself, since it was the first time I ever heard it on the radio.
"All I Want" went through 5 recordings before it got to this point... too many in my opinion. Although I am happy with this version, it is quite different than the original version that I recorded on an 8 track by my self. I'm not happy with some of the drum programming, mainly the cymbals. I could have done it much better myself, but when you've got someone paying for your studio time, you don't argue. After all, I'm only a musician, and a drummer. How could I possible program my own drum tracks?! This version was recorded on a 24 track analogue format, then later transferred to a digital studio where we added some stuff and mixed it.
Usually, I write softer songs, but one day back in the mid 80's I got really mad and wrote "Devil in your Eyes". Ironically, it's about a girl I used to know who's name is Angel. Well, she pissed me off one day and yes, Craig Farraway made a rock song. It didn't start out as a rock song though, but it was always very energetic and powerful. My manager brought in some session players for this one, and it payed off.
Dream on the Horizon
In the fall of 1987, I was sitting in the back of my parents' car on our way home from somewhere. It was an hour drive and the sun was starting to touch the horizon. As I stared at it, I reflected upon my dream to become a singer or performer of music. I thought, "There's a dream out there, a dream on the horizon."
The very next day, I was awakened early in the morning by a phone call from someone who said he had heard some of my music, and he wanted me to write a song for an album he was putting together. The album was going to carry a theme having to do with the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Canada. He wanted me to write a song about the Olympics. I agreed, of course, but I knew little about this subject, so I got up and asked my Mom. She explained some things to me, and I went down and wrote the song while still in my underwear. I recalled my thoughts from the day before, and "Dream on the Horizon" was born. The song eventually became the pivotal track on the album, and in fact, the album was named after the song. The album, "Dream on the Horizon: A Tribute to the Olympic Spirit" featured Rik Emmet of Triumph, Liona Boyd, and Alex Lifeson of Rush, and was produced by Keith Elshaw. The song was rotated on many Canadian radio stations, and a video we produced aired on Canada's "Much Music". The Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) produced a documentary about these Olympic games and they used the song "Dream on the Horizon" as the main theme of the program. It was on TV MAN!! I was on the news, and all kinds of exciting stuff happened. It was a very exciting time for me. Needless to say, this is one of my favorites.
I remember writing this song in the kitchen of the basement apartment where I lived back in 1990. It was inspired by a break-up
Together (You and I)
Wonder What She's Doing
This song is the flip-side of a 45 rpm airplay record called "After All". I got the idea for this song while standing in a woman's clothing store, waiting for a girl I was dating to pick out her purchase. I guess that's what happens when a song writer gets board. It was recorded at the same studio that After All was recorded at, Grant Ave. Studios in Hamilton Ontario. The idea for the lyrics came from the song, "Bluer Than Blue" by Micheal Johnson. They sort of say, "I'm over you, but I'm not really". With the help of my guitarist friend, Micheal Hampson, we got a nice heavy pop/rock sound. The recording itself, I think needs help. I am concidering re-recording the song at home here, and filming some of it for YouTube.