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Britt concerts kick off

Britt Festivals' summer concerts swing into high gear next week with Denver rock band The Fray headlining a concert at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville. Seattle-based, sultry rock trio Barcelona and folk and pop duo Oh Honey of New York City will open the show.

Medford rock band The Seaons will perform in the Britt Performance Garden.

The show is set for 7 p.m. Monday, June 16, at the pavilion, 350 First St., with The Seaons playing from 6 to 6:45.

Reserved seats cost $65, and lawn seating costs $42. Kids 12 and younger get in for $35. Tickets can be purchased at www.brittfest.org, at the box office, 216 W. Main St. in Medford, or by calling 800-882-7488 or 541-773-6077.

Patrons will not be permitted to bring alcoholic beverages into the venue for this performance. Beer and wine will be available for purchase inside the gates.

The Fray found overnight success on pop radio with the title song from its 2005 debut CD, "How to Save a Life," and another single from the CD, "Cable Car." Each topped Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

The band stayed on a roll with a self-titled album in 2009 that sold more that one million copies and garnered three hits, "You Found Me," "Never Say Never" and "Syndicate."

In 2012, the band released "Scars and Stories," making a decent impact with the single "Heartbeat" but not quite living up to its previous recordings.

So its members did a little soul-searching before going into their fourth album, "Helios."

Singer, keyboard player and principle songwriter Isaac Slade talks about "Scars And Stories" and how that album affected the group's objectives going into "Helios."

Q: Songs on "Helios," such as "Hurricane," "Give It Away" and "Love Don't Die," are more electronic, uptempo and danceable. Is the band moving in that direction?

"We didn't set out to break into top 40," Slade says. "We just wrote a bunch of songs and people said they could be on the radio. It blew my mind. On 'Scars and Stories,' we made the record with no deference to our current sound. I think it was a reflection of the band's reception and the record sales. I was telling somebody that we kind of exited the highway and got on a frontage road."

Q: Did you have to ask yourselves whether you wanted to pursue pop radio hits?

"We'd never really owned up to who we were as a commercial band. So we set out to make 'Helios' a record that was relevant and still us. We explored new territory and watched where it went. If it was terrible, we figured we just go back to where we were."

Q: Did you think it was the right time to work with outside writers such as Busbee, Matt Thiessen and Ryan Tedder?

"I'd never been comfortable working with outside writers because I felt we hadn't really established our own voice. But once we decided to turn back to top 40, we thought 'Shoot, let's see what these other guys are doing.' "

Q: What did you like about having Stuart Price, who's had experience with electronic music, produce "Helios."

"We wanted somebody who had experience. Stuart had worked with the Killers, and we know those guys a little bit. He had also worked with Pet Shop Boys and with Madonna. He has a sensibility about himself from working with the dynamics of a full group. There's that, and his ability to get the most of out a 1980s drum machine."

More great concerts are coming up at Britt. Look for Mavis Staples and Marc Cohn on Saturday, June 21; Fitz and the Tantrums and Max Frost on Sunday, June 22; and Gavin DeGraw, Matt Nathanson and Mary Lambert on Monday, June 23.

Denver-based rock band The Fray kicks off Britt Festival's outdoor concert series. - Photo courtesy of Britt Festival