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St. Clair Shores

December 19, 2013

Local man’s song sung by former ‘Beach Boy,’ Chris Farmer

By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Album art of “Every Day is Christmas,” sung by Chris Farmer.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Although it’s been a passion for his entire life, until the time he was 45 years old, the musical résumé of Paul Roberts was limited to playing saxophone and singing in the choir in high school.

But after his wife died of cancer, Roberts got himself a baby grand piano and four piano teachers, and “dove right in.”

“I felt that I had a lot of catching up to do. I never told the teachers that I had other teachers.”

Right away, he said, he felt his lessons were always being “interrupted” with original songs and tunes that would just pop into his head. He asked his teachers to help him write the music down, but they said it was “too strenuous” and just wanted to focus on helping him learn to play.

“Being an engineer, I got myself some manuscript paper and … then I got myself some songs. I started copying them so I could learn the notations,” said Roberts, of St. Clair Shores.

He worked for weeks, showing his progress to his various music teachers, who would correct the notations and give them back. Then, 28 years ago, an instrumental song he called “Paul Roberts’ Christmas,” was complete.

It eventually made it onto an album with 14 other songs composed by Roberts, “Heart to Heart,” produced in 2009.

But two months ago, the song got new life with lyrics from a friend, Rob Urbin.

“An idea came to him, and he sat down and wrote these beautiful lyrics,” Roberts, now 78, explained. “It took me a few days to get used to the lyrics because the song had no lyrics for 28 years, (but) I fell in love with the words.”

The friends copyrighted the new song, and then Urbin had a second surprise.

He sent it to a friend — a former Beach Boy — who decided to record it. The single, “Every Day is Christmas,” was released by Chris Farmer Dec. 16.

Farmer was a vocalist and bass player for the Beach Boys from 1995-2007 and currently plays with Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles when he tours with his original music. He also still performs with Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks, as well as Dean Torrence of Jan & Dean. Farmer has tribute groups for both the Beach Boys and the Eagles that perform in California, Arizona, Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev.

When he was approached by Urbin with the song, Farmer said the melody began to grow on him.

“An arrangement came to me, and I booked some studio time to flesh it out. The writers liked my version so … here we are,” Farmer said via email the day of the release. “What this song means to me is that the good will and generosity that most of us feel this time of year can easily be carried through the rest of the year.”

He recorded the song in December at The Hall of Supreme Harmony in Panorama City, Calif. It is available on iTunes and at www.chrisfarmermusic.com.

“This has taken on a life of its own,” said Roberts, who is now married to Wigs 4 Kids Founder and CEO Maggie Varney. “We’re anxious to share this.

“What a great surprise that the Christmas song now has new life.”

Find more of Paul Roberts’ music at www.paulrobertsassociation.com.