After years of writing novel-like songs full of memorable images and touring the globe with their “uninhibited” (New York Times) rock, Austin’s own Okkervil River is no longer a hometown secret.
Led by New Hampshire émigré Will Sheff, the band has released a series of acclaimed albums over the last 10 years. Okkervil began gaining national acclaim with 2003’s Down the River of Golden Dreams, which prompted Rolling Stone to write “Singer-songwriter Will Sheff of the haunted-country quartet Okkervil River is ready for worldwide renown. His ambitious melancholy on Down the River of Golden Dreams … would be impressive enough with just soft strum and Sheff’s vaporous tenor. But Okkervil River aspire to bigger cinema.”
2005’s Black Sheep Boy was named CD of the year by several critics and PopMatters wrote Black Sheep Boy “is a record that stuns on first listen, then manages the elusive — it sinks deep into your soul.”
Okkervil River’s newest release, The Stand Ins, is the sequel to 2007’s critically acclaimed The Stage Names, which Pitchfork praised as “… one of the year’s best,” with The New York Times proclaiming, “This band’s musical arsenal keeps getting fuller.” When recording The Stage Names, the band had enough songs for a double album, but chose to make two groups of songs that fit together and release them separately.
“This is my favorite album we’ve done,” Sheff said. “I think of it as a message to myself, from myself, to keep going. And I also think of it as an expression of love and alliance with people who kept going even when they knew it was all over.”