1997's music video for "A Fearless Heart" can be seen here.
Twelve months can make or break any band.
The up and downs, the personal trials, and the
months away from home are enough to pull
at the toughest heartstrings. Fortunately for
Chicago’s 1997, the time between the release
of their debut …A Better View of the Rising
Moon and their newest work On the Run, was
not only career changing; it was life asserting.
Though the transition was positive, it wasn’t
1997 began in the suburbs of Chicago in
2006, practicing in rundown attic apartment.
Luckily, their downstairs neighbor was an el-
derly deaf woman, creating an ironic and per-
fect place to practice. They created songs on
guitar and tambourine about life and what it
means, beautifully crafted with a wisdom be-
lying their age (18, 19 and 20). Local shows
with a mix of original songs and Bob Dylan
covers caught the attention of indie mainstay
Victory Records. This effervescent band with
a delightful youthfulness was signed and set
to debut their first record in April of 2007.
After wrapping up the recording process on
A Better View, however, 1997 went through
a change that no band wants to go through.
Vocalist Kerri Mack had to part ways with
the group directly before the album was
released due to unforeseen circumstances,
putting the rest of the members through an
uncertain limbo. As fate would have it, Alida
Marroni was introduced to the band through
a friend shortly after. A few practices proved
that she had what it took to fill the void, her
classically-trained background complimented
the bands rock roots in a unique way. 1997
Through the year that followed, the momen-
tum grew. 1997 took their music to the road,
giving a piece of themselves to their audienc-
es night after night. They slept in their van,
dumpster dove for dinner, did anything they
could to keep moving and bring their music
to new ears. These young and ambitious
musicians believed in the songs they were
playing and wanted the world to hear them.
Accomplishments like being named Spin.
com’s “Band of the Day,” coast to coast tours
with bands like Aiden and The Audition, and
praise from critics everywhere affirmed that
their hard work was paying off. After selling
thousands copies of their debut, they knew it
was time for a follow up.
1997 entered the studio in January, after the
arrival of guitarist Caleb Pepp’s daughter,
Lily. The warmth this lovely gift brought to
the song development was a welcome addi-
tion. Producer Steve Haigler (Brand New,
As Tall As Lions) recorded them at VuDu
Studios in Freeport, New York, working side
by side with the band to create a record that
would reflect their year of growth. A month
of round the clock recording and exacting
resulted in something truly exquisite; eleven
songs the band would title On the Run. A
record of change and enlightenment inspired
by realized dreams and obstacles overcome.
The intertwined vocals of Pepp and Marroni,
as well as that of Kevin Thomas, beautifully
sing lyrics of reflection. Alan Goffinski and
Cody Josephson bring depth with the intrica-
cies of their bass, guitar, harmonica and even
a singing saw. The organic way in which
Nick Coleman adds structure through percus-
sion rounds out an incredible listen.
On May 27th, the world is invited to hear this
clarity through song when On the Run hits
stores. 1997’s sophomore recording is a time-
less piece with influences from folk to pop
to rock, a record that anyone young or old
can enjoy. Listen to it with your family, your
friends or even by yourself and be affected by
its gentle ferocity and youthful attentiveness.
Though its title is inspired by the act of leav-
ing, On the Run and 1997 are here to stay.