From the sleepy sprawl of America's Mile-High City comes The Fray, a Denver-based foursome whose melodic pop-rock songs and soaring vocals resonate with sprawling tapestries and tales of hopefulness and heartache.
Formed in 2002 by Isaac Slade (vocals, piano) and Joe King (guitar, vocals), The Fray earned a loyal grassroots following through impressive area gigs and the support of local radio which led a listen-driven campaign to get the band a record contract. With strong word-of-mouth, The Fray won "Best New Band" honors from Denver's Westword Magazine and garnered substantial airplay on two of Denver's top rock stations - the demo version of "Over My Head (Cable Car)" became KTCL's top 30 most played song of 2004 in just 4 months. The band signed to Epic Records in 2004 released their debut effort, How To Save A Life, in 2005.
"Three years ago, I thought I wanted to start a real estate company," laughs co-founder Joe King in 2005. A serendipitous encounter with former schoolmate Isaac Slade at a local music store beget an impromptu jam session that beget an impromptu songwriting session that beget The Fray. It wasn't your usual rock n' roll lineup - vocals, guitar and piano - but it worked. The uplifting, melody-driven songs were catchy enough to attract two former bandmates of Slade's - drummer Ben Wysocki and guitarist Dave Welsh. "Ben and I were basically a package deal at the time," explains Welsh. "Ben joined first, but I think he felt lonely without me."
It didn't hurt that the boys were all consummate musicians. A pianist from an early age, King competed in the local recital circuit before dropping piano altogether and picking up the guitar in junior high. "The coolest guys in my eighth grade class all played guitar," confides King. "I wanted to fit in." Slade began singing when he was eight, but temporary voice problems led him to discover the piano at age 11. After regaining his vocal abilities a year later, he continued studying piano and learned guitar in high school. "I wrote my first song at 16," explains Slade, "which is when I first picked up the guitar." Wysocki began taking drum lessons in the sixth grade, but only after having endured piano lessons at his parents' request. Welsh grew up in a musical household, and struggled with piano and saxophone before settling on guitar at age 12.
The lineup secure, all the band needed was a name. Jokes about the boys' tendency to battle it out over song composition led to the suggestion of "The Fray," and the name stuck. So did The Fray's style - a sophisticated, emotional blend of tinkling pianos, acoustic and electric guitars, and gently insistent rhythms that serves as an ideal backdrop for Slade's pitch-perfect, achingly beautiful vocals. The Fray's first single, "Over My Head (Cable Car)", echoes the poignant lyricism of Counting Crows and the melodic intensity of U2. The title track, "How To Save A Life", is a heartbreaking meditation on salvation inspired by Slade's experience as a mentor to a crack-addicted teen. Both songs employ an epic sweep, speeding up and slowing down so effortlessly that the listener can't help but become emotionally involved by the time the crescendo hits.
How To Save A Life dropped in September 2005.
The title track was featured on many television shows, including Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs.
In 2006, The Fray was nominated for two Grammys at a time. It took The Fray just a moment to move from the tiny club stages to the huge venues where they appeared as headliners regularly. In 2007, they went to play in Australia, where their songs became radio-hits number one, and also in Japan, Germany and New Zealand. The same year, in summer, The Fray had an American tour and on which the completion of, the musicians escaped to the studio working on the subsequent release. The Fray kept on working with Epic Records and those specialists who helped them prepare the debut album. They named the new CD The Fray and released it in February 2009.
Listen to The Fray Here
|Reason EP||2003 (original) 2007 (re-release)||Independent (Original) Epic Records (re-release)|
|How to Save a Life||2005||Epic Records|
|The Fray Live at the Electric Factory, Bootleg No. 1||2006||Epic Records|
|Acoustic In Nashville - Bootleg No. 2||2007||Epic Records|
|Over My Head (Cable Car)||2007||Epic Records|
|The Fray||2009||Epic Records|
|The Fray Live From SoHo||2009||Epic Records|
|Scars & Stories||2012||Epic Records|