BioChampaign, IL, indie rock outfit the Living Blue was formed in 1997 by three natives of tiny Odell, IL — singer/guitarist Steve Ucherek, guitarist Joe Prokop, and drummer Mark Schroder — who first met while in high school. Originally dubbed the Blackouts, they burned through a series of bassists (among them Ucherek's brother, Ben) while building a fan following on the Champaign bar circuit. After installing bassist Pat Olsen in 2001, the group cut a self-released five-song EP that caught the attention of the Chicago indie Lucid, which the following year issued their debut LP, the garage rock homage Everyday Is a Sunday Evening. Power pop cult hero Adam Schmitt produced the Blackouts' 2004 follow-up, Living in Blue.
After sharing top honors in a nationwide talent contest sponsored by Little Steven's Underground Garage, the syndicated radio show hosted by E Street Band guitarist/actor Steven Van Zandt, the group further increased its visibility when several of its songs were prominently featured on the WB Network teen drama One Tree Hill. To avoid confusion with other similarly named acts, the Blackouts then rechristened themselves the Living Blue, swapping Olsen for bassist Andrew Davidson and signing to Minty Fresh to begin work on their next LP.