With a sound the plants itself somewhere between Counting Crows, Jack's Mannequin, U2, the Wallflowers, Coldplay, Better Than Ezra, and others, the piano-strong Fray carved out an audience for themselves beginning with their debut album, How to Save a Life, in 2005.
Denver, Colorado, was the hometown of two school chums -- Isaac Slade (vocals, piano) and Joe King (guitar, vocals) – who started jamming together in 2002. Slade recruited drummer Ben Wysocki and guitarist David Welsh to flesh out the line-up. Together, the foursome put out their first EP in 2002, Movement, and found some radio love on Denver's KTCL.
They kept steaming along locally with yet another EP, Reason, coming out the next year. All the hubbub earned them a Best New Band accolade in 2004 from Westword, a local weekly newspaper. The anointment led to Epic Records signing the Fray to a deal and putting them on the road with Weezer and Ben Folds during the summer of 2005.
A few months later, How to Save a Life dropped with "Over My Head (Cable Car)" as the lead single. It wasted no time earning fans in the modern rock world with Top 40 attention coming on line in 2006. The album's title track came up to bat and hit it out of the park (and into the Top 10), thanks to usage by Grey's Anatomy. The single stayed on the Billboard chart for more than a year, hitting number one in four countries. How to Save a Life ultimately sold more than two million units in the U.S. alone.
Live at the Electric Factory was slipped into the Fray's discography in mid-2006 and the Reason EP was re-issued the next year while the band kept touring. Eventually, they headed back into the studio to make their self-titled sophomore set in 2009. The effort entered the charts at number one and earned a Grammy nod for Best Pop Vocal Album.
The Fray's Christmas EP followed a collaboration with Timbaland on Shock Value II in late 2009. Then, travels to Germany and Rwanda informed the Fray's Scars and Stories, released in early 2012 and led by the “Heartbeat” single. Produced by Brendan O'Brien and recorded in Nashville, the album was fashioned sonically to echo artists including Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam.