After nearly two decades as a singer in various Seattle-area pop and roots rock bands, Christy McWilson finally released her solo debut, The Lucky One, in 2000. McWilson first recorded in the early '80s as one-third of the girl group pastiche the Dynette Set, who released a few singles and compilation tracks in the first half of the decade, including "Seed of Love," a standout on the 1984 Rhino female-focused new wave compilation The Girls Can't Help It. That song was co-written and produced by Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows, who later became McWilson's husband.
After the demise of the Dynette Set, McWilson played around Seattle in various short-lived groups while adding backing vocals to various Young Fresh Fellows albums (the Fellows' college radio hit "Amy Grant" particularly benefited from McWilson's sassy vocals). In 1990, McWilson helped form the Picketts, who released three albums -- Paper Doll, The Wicked Picketts, and Euphonium -- over the course of the '90s. As the Picketts disbanded, more out of sloth than acrimony, longtime fan Dave Alvin approached McWilson with an offer to produce her first solo album, made up of her originals (many concerning her lifelong struggle with a bipolar disorder) and a heartfelt, lovely cover of Brian Wilson's "Til I Die." The album, The Lucky One, was recorded with a core band that included Alvin, Peter Buck, and Rick Shea on guitars; Bob Glaub and Walter Singleman on bass; and Don Heffington on drums. It also features guest appearances by Syd Straw, the Old 97s' Rhett Miller, and R.E.M.'s Mike Mills. Two years later, she called on many of the same musicians to help her put together her second solo album, Bed of Roses.