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The source of Okkervil River originally springs from Meriden, New Hampshire. It later trickled down to Texas, and carved out its course from the rock bed of Austin. Once established, the current of the Colorado River carried away the mainstay from the Lone Star State. Inspiration now flows from the streets of Brooklyn, New York and all that is found adrift in the fabric of the city's idiosyncratic grit.

Visit Okkervil River's Official Website for news, tour dates, and merchandise and to sign up for the band's newsletter.

The best way to keep current on the band is through their social media presence:
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    Digging in the oubliette this morning, I unearthed this link hidden under a dusty demo. If you want to peek into the band's past life, tiptoe here.

    Band Lineup
    Will Sheff: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar (1998 - present)
    Will Graefe: Acoustic & Electric Guitar (2016 - present)
    Benjamin Lazar Davis: Electric & Upright Bass (2016 - present)
    Sarah Pedinotti: Keyboards, Harmonica, Background Vocals (2016 - present)
    Cully Symington: Drums, Percussion (2010 - present)

    Former Members
    Travis Scott Brian Patrick

    Charles Bissell: Electric Guitar, Mandolin (2008 touring)
    Scott Brackett: Coronet, Keyboards (2005 - 2010)
    Brian Cassidy: Electric & Pedal Steel Guitar, Mandolin (2005 - 2008)
    Howard Draper: Bass, Lap Steel Guitar, Keyboards (2004)
    Lauren Gurgiolo: Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Pedal Steel Guitar (2008 - 2014)
    Chris Heinrich: Electric Guitar (2005 touring)
    Jonathan Meiburg: Keyboards, Accordion, Banjo, Electric Guitar, Vocals (1999 - 2008 + guest appearances)
    Travis Nelsen: Drums (2003 - 2010)
    Mark Pedini: Drums (2000 - 2003)
    Patrick Pestorius: Bass, Back-up Vocals (2005 - 2015)
    Justin Sherburn: Keyboards, Accordion, Electric Guitar (2007 - 2015)
    Michael St. Clair: Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Keyboards, Electric Guitar, Maracas (2011 - 2015)

    Original Lineup
    Will Sheff: Vocals, Guitar (1998 - present)
    Zachary Thomas: Bass, Mandolin (1998 - 2005)
    Seth Warren : Drums (1998 - 2000)

    Will Sheff guitar
    Okkervil River
    Okkervil River
    Okkervil River

    Will Sheff guitar
    Okkervil River
    Okkervil River
    Okkervil River


  • Away (CD/LP to be released September 9, 2016) BUY (Amazon), BUY (ATO)
  • The Silver Gymnasium (CD/2xLP/Cassette) released September 3, 2013) BUY
  • I Am Very Far (CD/2xLP/Deluxe Edition released May 10, 2011) BUY
  • The Stand Ins (CD/LP released September 9, 2008) BUY
  • The Stage Names Deluxe Edition (2xCD released August 7, 2007)
    Disk One: The Stage Names
    Disk Two: Demo versions of each album track on TSN
  • The Stage Names (CD/LP released August 7, 2007) BUY
  • Black Sheep Boy (10th Anniversary Edition) (3CD released December 4, 2015) BUY
  • Black Sheep Boy Definitive Edition (2xCD released March 6, 2007/2xLP released December 8, 2009) BUY
    Disk One: The original Black Sheep Boy recording
    Disk Two: Black Sheep Boy Appendix with the insertion of "The Next Four Months" plus the "For Real" video & an alternate take "No Key, No Plan" video
  • Black Sheep Boy (CD/LP released April 5, 2005) BUY
  • Down the River of Golden Dreams(CD/LP released September 2, 2003) BUY
  • Don't Fall in Love With Everyone You See (CD released January 22, 2002/LP released September 7, 2004) BUY
  • Stars Too Small to Use (CD released March 21, 2000)


  • Golden Opportunities 3 (MP3s released December 18, 2013) FREE DOWNLOAD (original version) ~ MP3s zipped
  • Golden Opportunities 2 (MP3s released November 28, 2011) FREE DOWNLOAD ~ MP3s zipped
  • Golden Opportunities Mixtape (MP3s released December 12, 2007) FREE DOWNLOAD ~ MP3s zipped


  • Overboard & Down (CD released September 5, 2006)
  • Black Sheep Boy Appendix (CD/LP released November 22, 2005) BUY
  • Sleep And Wake-Up Songs (CD/LP released November 2, 2004) BUY
  • Bedroom EP (1998 home-recorded demos)


  • Julie Doiron/Okkervil River (CD released June 17, 2003) BUY
  • Sham Wedding/Hoax Funeral (Okkervil River/Shearwater CD sold on 2004 joint tour)


  • "Rider" (7" released June 7, 2011) BUY
    B-Side: "I Guess We Lost"
  • "Wake And Be Fine" (7" released March 29, 2011) BUY
    B-Side: "Weave Room Blues"
  • "Mermaid" (12" released February 8, 2011) BUY
    B-Side: "Walked On A Line"
  • "Pop Lie" (CD released April 21, 2009) BUY
    B-Sides: "Millionnaire" and "Pop Lie" (one-man band version)
  • "The President's Dead" (LP released December 5, 2006) BUY
    B-Side: "The Room I'm Hiding In"
  • "For Real (There's Nothing Like the Blinding Light)" (CD released March 1, 2005) BUY
    B-Sides: "The Next Four Months" and "For The Enemy" (Live)
  • “Satisfy You” (Okkervil River/South San Gabriel split 7" released 2002)
  • “Kansas City” (CD released 2000)
  • “The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion” (CD released 1999)
    B-Side: Omie Wise


  • "Down Down The Deep River" (album version) (released August 14, 2015 on President Barak Obama's Mixtape)
  • "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" (album version) (released March 2010 on Uncut sampler CD)
  • "Lost Coastlines" (live) (released December 2009 on Live at the World Cafe, Volume 27 CD)
  • "All You Little Suckers" (released April 7, 2009 on SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: THE COVERS! CD)
  • "Lost Coastlines" (released January 2009 on Starbucks Coffee Company Winter 2009 CD)
  • "The Blonde In The Bleachers" (released October 2008 on Before The Goldrush digital-download)
  • "John Allyn Smith Sails" (album version) (released September 2008 on Uncut sampler CD)
  • "Lines" & "Mermaid" (released August 30, 2008 on In Search Of A Midnight Kiss MP3 collection)
  • "Unless It's Kicks" (live) (released 2008 on Live at the World Cafe, Volume 25: Quarter Notes CD)
  • "Unless It's Kicks" (album version) (released March 2008 on Uncut sampler CD)
  • "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" (album version) (released August 2006 on Willamette Week Musicfest NW CD)
  • "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" (album version) (released August 2006 on Paste Sampler CD)
  • "Listening to Otis Redding At Home During Christmas" (album version) (released January 2006 on Music To Listen To When You Drive Home For Christmas CD)
  • "Lines" (released 2006 on Yeti #4 CD)
  • "Westfall (Live)" (released 2006 on WorkPlay Live CD by the Young Lawyers’ Section of the Birmingham Bar Foundation to support the charity AMSTEC)
  • "Your Other Man" (released 2005 on A Second Tribute To Jandek: Down In A Mirror CD)
  • "Nancy" (released 2005 on Appetizers & Leftovers CD)
  • "My Bad Days (Live)" (released 2004 on Comes With A Smile CD)
  • "See See Rider" (released November 2004 on Demons and Rare Meat CD)
  • "Westfall" (album version) (released April 2004 on Another Country, Vol. 2 CD & LP)
  • "Riot Act" (released 2003 on Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello CD)
  • "Disfigured Cowboy" (released 2002 on Comes With A Smile CD)
  • "Omie Wise (Live)" (released 1999 on Aural Fixation: KVRX Local Live Vol. 5 CD)


  • An Okkervil River Primer (promotional CD given with purchase of The Stage Names, August 2007)
  • Okkervil River Live at Schubas 05/13/2005 (CD-R released January 26, 2011) BUY
  • Okkervil River Live at Schubas 05/09/2004 (CD-R released January 26, 2011) BUY


  • "The Industry" directed by Christopher Good (YouTube)
  • "Okkervil River R.I.P." directed by Will Sheff (YouTube)
  • "It Was My Season [Official Lyric Video]" directed by Johnny North (YouTube)
  • "Stay Young" directed by Sean Dunne (YouTube)
  • "Wake And Be Fine" directed by Daniel Gibbs (YouTube)
  • "Lost Coastlines" directed by Seth and Bobby (YouTube, Download from DTO)
  • "A Girl In Port" directed by Mike Angelo Torres (YouTube, Download from DTO)
  • "A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene" directed by Steven Drypolcher (Download from DTO)
  • "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" directed by Margaret Brown (YouTube, Download from DTO)
  • "For Real" animated by Zak Margolis (YouTube, Download from DTO)
  • "It Ends With A Fall" directed by Will Sheff (YouTube, Download from DTO)

  • The Stand Ins Trailer directed by David Lowery (Vimeo)
  • For Real - Behind the Scenes of Black Sheep Boy filmed and edited by Zachary Thomas (Download from DTO)

    (Okkervil River known to have performed)

  • "Does Your Mother Know" by Abba
  • "Big Black Car" by Big Star
  • "O, Dana" by Big Star
  • "Unravel" by Bjork
  • "Cracked Actor" by David Bowie
  • "Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down" by Big Bill Broonzy
  • "Antarctica Starts Here" by John Cale
  • "Take This Waltz" by Leonard Cohen
  • "Riot Act" by Elvis Costello
  • "Solo" by Sandy Denny
  • "All You Little Suckers" by East River Pipe
  • "Ain't Blues Too Sad" by Roky Erickson
  • "Think Of As One" by Roky Erickson
  • "You're Gonna Miss Me" by Roky Erickson
  • "Pictures Of Adolph Again" by Bill Fay
  • "Plan D" by Bill Fay
  • "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac
  • "What Makes You Think You're The One" by Fleetwood Mac
  • "I Want To Know" by The Fugs
  • "I Have Come To Tell You I'm Leaving (Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'en Vais)" by Serge Gainsbourg
  • "Black Sheep Boy" by Tim Hardin
  • "Your Other Man" by Jandek
  • "No Easy Way Down" by Carole King [Dusty Springfield's version is Will's influence]
  • "Unreal Reality" by The Kinks
  • "Jealous Guy" by John Lennon
  • "Remember" by John Lennon
  • "Satan Is Real" by The Louvin Brothers
  • "Open The Door, Richard" by Jack McVea [Dylan/The Band version is Will's influence]
  • "A Damn Good Disguise" by The Mendoza Line
  • "Blonde In The Bleachers" by Joni Mitchell
  • "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear" by Randy Newman
  • "Nancy" by Orange Mothers
  • "April Anne" by John Phillips
  • "Some Weird Sin" by Iggy Pop
  • "I'm On Fire" by Bruce Springsteen
  • "Italian Girls" by Rod Stewart
  • "Hometown Farewell Kiss" by The Triffids
  • "Motel Blues" by Loudon Wainwright III
  • "Do What You Gotta Do"by Jimmy Webb [Nina Simone's version is Will's influence]
  • "I Can't Escape From You" by Hank Williams
  • "Ex-Girl Collection" by The Wrens
  • "Mellow My Mind" by Neil Young
  • "Pardon My Heart" by Neil Young
  • "Roll Another Number For The Road" by Neil Young

  • Traditional
  • "Dreadful Wind and Rain"
  • "Moonshiner"
  • "Omie Wise"
  • "See See Rider"
  • "Willow Tree"


    The Okkervil River Navigational Auxiliary Guild, active in the early years of the band, was conceived as a channel through which fans could assist the band in promoting their tours. In return, it granted fans a glimpse into the secret world of Okkervil River. A newsletter sent to O.R.N.A.G. members with links to exclusive MP3s, Will's journal entries and band pictures allowed fans to shadow the band in their touring exploits.

    Reka Okkervil

    "Down by Okkervil River slow silent thick and black, I stared into the water, and the water it stared back..."
    Okkervil River

    The story of the genesis of the band's name is well-known. According to Will in interviews, when the band was deliberating what to call themselves, he tossed out the name of the short story he was reading at the time - "Okkervil River" by Tatyana Tolstaya. It stuck. In the process, he also made a body of water in St. Petersburg, Russia relevant to a group of music fans (as well as revealing that many must have been staring out the window during a certain phonetics lesson in grade school).

    The picture to the left is courtesy of a Google search. I chose this one a decade ago when creating this site because it reflected the imagery of the lyrics from the band's "Okkervil River Song." When I picture the river now, however, it is anything but silent. For me, it rages alive with sounds and the reminder of how some of life's random moments grant its most treasured gifts.

    One cold day in November 2008, I stood in the middle of a foot bridge, clasping its wooden rail. While watching ducks below chirp up at me, pieces of Russian conversations drifted by me, having escaped from the bundled passers who rustled by on the path behind me. As I moved away from the feathered and feather-encased, I walked along Okkervil River for the first time, hearing only the crunching of snow under my shoes until I was deeper in the woods and stumbled upon a husband and wife celebrating their anniversary with a Saturday afternoon barbecue on the banks of Okkervil River. As we spiritedly toasted their marriage with vodka - lots and lots of vodka - they were amazed to learn that an American girl was sharing their day with them because of the name that an American songwriter had chosen for his band ten years prior. The line that dissected in two the field that filled the frame of their bedroom window now had new meaning for them too. On that day we also toasted to Okkervil River and all that had transpired to bring us together.

    © Photo Credits