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Ceres musician finds old Christmas song has appeal
Rayme Fryer of Ceres won't forget the affect that a Christmas song that he wrote as a teen had when he performed it in 1986 before his peers at Ceres High School. Girls were crying at its tenderness. He recently dusted off the song, "Christmas Without You" to record it and is enjoying a newfound audience via the internet.

"All these years I've always loved this song," said Fryer, whose worked on a musical career since graduating from Ceres High School in 1985. "It's a good song. When I got done playing it at Ceres High, just about every female in there, including the teachers, were bawling. The guys either liked it or wanted to kick my butt because their girlfriend was crying. But I realize that it affected people. All these years I knew that it had the hoops, it had the good lines, it was just a good pop song."

With the help of friend and acting producer Hal Langsted, the song was tweaked a bit and improved for a recording that is getting attention on internet radio. For the time in his musical experience, Rayme brought in a saxophone player to lend to the sadness of "a Christmas song where the guy's missing the girl he let go."

Fryer's song is also getting airplay on a Christmas music station back east.

"I just sit down and put it out anywhere and everywhere I can."

The aspiring artist feels that the new rendition of his old song is the best of his career and believes that it "if it could get to the right ears, there wouldn't be any stopping it."

Fryer sells CDs of the song but anyone can download it for free at where all his songs - including his old '80s songs - are posted. Other independent artists post their music at the website.

"The fans can go get it for free and the artist still gets paid through advertising revenue," explained Fryer. "It's nothing like selling your CD but you still make a little bit of money. The internet is great for independent artists."

Fryer admits that he has not made lots of money with the song but noted that he plans to donate proceeds to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The charity is dear to him because his father Jerry and brother David both suffered from the disease. During his dad's recent illness and subsequent death, Rayme moved back to Ceres when his family needed him to care for things.

"When they died it was just really important for me - being the one who didn't get the disease - to give back," said Rayme.

Being that the music industry is so competitive, Fryer is still working for a big break.

"It's hard when you're not signed, not well known. But what I do is put it in contests, on websites that'll do charts and things like that. If it does real well some people find you. So the music's been all over the world and done really well ... so we'll see what happens."

When he trekked out on a music career in the 1980s, Fryer was lead singer of a Modesto-based band, Thrill Seekers, which generated a "huge following" and was picked to open for Tiffany at a Modesto venue. He later sang as opening act for Quiet Riot, Night Ranger, Pat Travers and Rick Derringer. He lived on the east coast for a "while doing my thing anywhere and everywhere."

Polygram Records took an interest in him but things fell through. He walked away from music for about 10 years during marriage and child rearing. After a divorce, Fryer returned to music.

"When it's in you, you can't stop even if you're not going to go out and chase it full time. If you stop doing what you like to do, you kind of become a different person."

Since getting back in his own skin and rejoining old friends, Rayme has been working on producing CDs in a local studio.

He began singing to family members at age 2 and piano lessons at 5. On his own initiative Rayme learned the guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and drums.