Singer/songwriter Mary Lee Kortes thought she'd be editing books for living when she finally left her hometown of Whitefish, MT, for Manhattan city life in the mid-'80s. Music had been a hobby for Kortes since her early childhood, and by her teens she was mastering the guitar. Gigs in and around the West and Midwest were fun, but Kortes never took them seriously; seriously enough to make it her life. Alas, songwriting was her ticket in. Amy Grant recorded Kortes' song "Everywhere I Go" for her 1985 album Unguarded and it went to the top of the adult contemporary charts. She also guested on Freedy Johnston's 1997 effort Never Home and Jewel's Christmas album Joy: A Holiday Collection. A fan base was evolving, so Kortes put her solo skills to the test with her own band, Mary Lee's Corvette.
A two-song self-titled demo appeared in 1997. Media jumped on it immediately and a local radio station tagged Mary Lee's Corvette "the 21st Century version of Hal David, Burt Bacharach, and Dionne Warwick wrapped up in one svelte package." Two years later, Mary Lee's Corvette released True Lovers of Adventure, and again radio was quick to support the album. She continued to play shows in and around New York City and her star power continued to soar.
One evening in mid-2001, Mary Lee's Corvette, which now consisted of Andy York (guitar), Rod Hohl (acoustic guitar), Diego Voglino (drums), Brad Albetta (bass), and Andy Burton (piano/organ), had a gig at Arlene's Grocery for "classic albums nights." Being a massive fan of Bob Dylan, Kortes and her band prepped to play Blood on the Tracks in its entirety. She was nervous and not really sure if she could go through with it, but she did, and it was a magical night. Luckily the soundman recorded the show, and Blood on the Tracks: Recorded Live at Arlene Grocery became the second album for Mary Lee's Corvette, issued in August 2002. That musical journey led Kortes and her band to write eight brand new tracks, which turned into a proper studio full-length entitled 700 Miles. The album was released in April 2003 and coincided stateside shows with Joe Jackson. ~ MacKenzie Wilson