For almost two decades, Okkervil River has been the main artistic outlet for songwriter Will Sheff. During that time, the band has released seven studio albums that have been received with widespread critical acclaim. Okkervil River has even spawned at least one popular side project (the band Shearwater, founded by Sheff and longtime Okkervil River collaborator Jonathan Meiberg, is still going strong). Despite that success, Sheff had become unhappy with the creative direction of Okkervil River over the course of the past few years. But instead of dissolving the band and starting over completely from scratch, he made an unconventional decision. He kept the band name, but made a hard reset.
“Okkervil River has been with through my whole life, whether I like it or not,” Sheff explained during an interview at OPB. “It is who I am, and I thought it was more interesting to have it die within itself.”
With that in mind, Sheff and an entirely new Okkervil River lineup performed songs from the band’s eighth release Away in the OPB studios, as well as one new interpretation of an old song (Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe). Watch video from the performance hosted by our partners at VuHaus. Sheff also chatted with opbmusic about the album’s themes of grief, loss, and rebirth.
Listen to the interview and all of the songs performed during the session here: