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Joe King making a name for himself apart from the Fray

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Perhaps taking a cue from his pal Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, who's written and produced songs for an array of top shelf pop acts, including Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce and Leona Lewis, Fray guitarist Joe King is steadily making a name for himself as a burgeoning songwriter in his own right. On the just released self-titled debut of Kris Allen, the winner of last season's American Idol, King co-wrote a track called "Alright with Me," which one critic has already pinpointed as the album's standout cut -- or "the liveliest song," as he puts it, on a record filled with otherwise "mostly flavorless pop rock." Not a huge fan of that particular track, but we can appreciate the sentiment.

King also recently collaborated on a song with Timbaland and Esthero on "Undertow," a tune from the former's forthcoming album, Shock Value II. That tune begins with austere, very brief, Fray-like piano figure that immediately blends into a subduded, almost tentative Timbaland beat that props up the producer's auto-tuned vocals in the first verse, before becoming even more Frayed during the chorus, which King lends his burnished tenor. For her part, Esthero, who handles the second verse, sort of steals the show. "Undertow" hasn't officially been released yet -- Shock Value II doesn't hit stores until Tuesday, December 8 -- but enterprising Googlers shouldn't have too hard a time tracking it down.

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