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Something clicks with superstar, and tour follows

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — How do a pop-rock star and a pop-rock band come to co-headline on tour? It could be as simple as the band asking the star what she thinks of the idea.

The band is The Fray and the star is Kelly Clarkson. As part of their national tour, they will perform Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque presents The Pavilion.

“I had this fleeting thought,” Isaac Slade, The Fray’s pianist-vocalist, said in a phone interview. “We’d never met Kelly before. We liked her voice. We were backstage for our Christmas show. We said, ‘Let’s give her a call.’ ”

Clarkson met The Fray at a band sound check in Chicago and they performed one song together at the show.


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“We hit it off,” Slade said.

The Denver-based band is promoting its third full-length album, “Scars & Stories,” which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

The Today newspaper called it “more muscular and more buoyant” while still maintaining “a searching earnestness.”

The cut “48 To Go” is based on a road trip that Slade and his girlfriend were on after being absent from each other for a while.

“Finally we were in the same state and we tried to drive to California,” he said.

The lyrics of the song talk about looking for a shortcut to Albuquerque, but missing a highway sign for the city.

“This was before iPhones. Anna said, ‘I think we’re lost.’ We had gone all the way to Texas and (before they knew it) there was a sign that said ‘50 miles to Juarez,’ ” he recalled.

The album’s final cut, “Be Still,” has the quality of a psalm in offering the listener protection through the repeated phrase “Know that I’m with you.”

Slade he wrote that song “really fast in the car on the way to the studio. I recorded it on a little voice recorder. That (sense of protection) is exactly what I want to communicate – hold on, stick with me. We almost didn’t put it on the record because it’s not a rock song. … It was an 11th-hour debate. We all decided it feels like it fit.”

The Fray’s second CD was self-titled. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album of 2010. The band’s 2005 debut album, “How to Save a Life,” gained international attention through the promoted title cut, soaring to the Top 5 in several countries.

The song also was featured on a second season episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” and then was used to promote the following season’s first episode.