"...On Wednesday, we rang up Will Sheff at home in Brooklyn, the Okkervil River frontman suspending dinner prep to talk about the 10th anniversary reissue of Black Sheep Boy, which includes the original LP, a follow-up EP, and a third CD of unheard material. Kitchen tips were also offered ahead of his sold-out solo sets this weekend at the Cactus Cafe...."
"...The Grammy nominations were announced earlier this evening. There’s no shortage of hometown heroes headed to the red carpet for the 53rd annual award ceremony in February, most surprisingly Will Sheff, who earned a Best Album Notes nod for Roky Erickson with Okkervil River’s True Love Cast Out All Evil...."
"...His grandfather, 90, was running out of time, so Will Sheff made the five-and-a-half-hour drive from Brooklyn to his grandparents' home in New Hampshire often while writing songs for Okkervil River's difficult departure LP I Am Very Far in 2011. The three would eat breakfast together, then Sheff would vanish into the room above the garage until dusk, writing in isolation..."
"...Nonetheless, tarry is what these two men do, perched as respectfully as possible on an ancient monument, surrounded by other gargantuan gravestones bearing the poignant legends "Mother," "Father," "Our Baby Daughter." Together, Okkervil River's Will Sheff and Centro-matic's Will Johnson hold court amid the dead in a museum dedicated to absence...."
"...In Search of a Midnight Kiss writer/director Alex Holdridge and songwriter Will Sheff of Okkervil River (and formerly of Shearwater) use the same words to describe each other's work: poignant, earnest, and raw. Both have a distinct knack for character-driven narratives, a way of revealing unsettling truths without really commenting on them, and the ability to force their respective audience to wrestle with the meaning...."
"...Will Sheff uses two microphones when Okkervil River backs Roky Erickson in concert: one for his serene harmony on “Be and Bring Me Home” and ghostly echo on “I Walked With a Zombie,” the other to prompt Erickson through the band’s PA without the audience hearing. He needed both at the Paramount last Saturday...."
"...Last December, Will Sheff returned to Austin for a solo tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of Okkervil River’s breakout LP, Black Sheep Boy. Even then, the formerly longtime local was clearly trying to reshape his catalog..."
"...A primary test for each new Okkervil River album is how well the songs mesh live with their previous material. How the worlds that Will Sheff spins so completely with each LP collide and expand upon each other...."
"...Last week, Okkervil River digitally debuted its Golden Opportunities Mixtape, a marvelous live, nine-song cover collection – with the noted exception of “Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas” – that serves as musical annotations to this year’s The Stage Names. It ranges from intriguing renditions of Joni Mitchell’s “The Blonde in the Bleachers” and Randy Newman’s “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear” to “April Anne” by John Phillips and lead singer and songwriter Will Sheff’s personal translation of Serge Gainsbourg’s “I Came Here to Say I’m Going Away.” Sheff recently spoke to Off the Record about the way music and literature influence his character sketches narratives and his interest in the feminine voice...."
"...“I was so happy when I heard it. Not only did we have a former intern playing on the record [guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo], but Will [Sheff] understood that Roky’s songs breathe, and he captured that energy..."
"...Now, with Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar), Okkervil River has reached a critical point in its evolution, one that's poised the band on the brink of notoriety and success. The secret lies in frontman Will Sheff's songwriting, which has matured in exponential leaps with each new release..."
"...The rivulet that would become Okkervil River formed when Will Sheff first met Seth Warren in grade school, and the two later hooked up with transplanted Texan Zachary Thomas via high school in the small town of Meriden, New Hampshire. The three shared weirdo status throughout their school years, so they did what any respectable group of high school outsiders does at times of social isolation: They formed a band..."
"..."We kept struggling to find the right way to make 'Please Judge' work," recalls Okkervil River leader and True Love producer Will Sheff, who first attempted a full-band version of the original tune and later tried an Americana backdrop. "I had this breakdown where I didn't know what else to do...."
"...In writing The Stage Names, Okkervil River's fourth release for Jagjaguwar, Will Sheff sought seclusion amid the maddening din. In a tiny New York City fourth-floor walk-up apartment, the album emerged as Sheff sat by his open window, staring beyond the fire escape into the human dramas unfolding below...."
"...On 2013's The Silver Gymnasium, Will Sheff waxed nostalgic about his 10-year-old self in New Hampshire. Away now follows up with the fallout of having reckoned that past..."
"..."TCB" returns next week. A River Runs Through It Local songwriting savant Will Sheff led his folk-punk fivepiece, Okkervil River, through the wringer during the recording of their fifth LP..."
"...Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff might be under the weather, but hes practically bouncing off the walls with excitement over the groups new album, Black Sheep Boy, due April 5 on Indiana indie Jagjaguar. "It's our favorite so far," he gushes..."
"...It's generally considered an asset when a songwriter, whether Dylan, Van Zandt, or Elliott Smith, has an accumulation of experience to draw upon. Shearwater's local debut, a collaboration between Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Jonathan Meiburg of Kingfisher, wears the sincere and allegorical clothes of such sage craftsmen proudly, but leans more toward the confused coming-of-age adolescent perspective, in the process supplying more questions than answers..."
"...Less than 30 seconds into Okkervil River's ninth full-length, we learn that Will Sheff, the creative leader and frontman for the Austin-birthed act, endured a tracheotomy as a baby. The bizarre admission of album opener "Famous Tracheotomies," an oral history of celebrities who've undergone the procedure, encapsulates the tone of In the Rainbow Rain, a joyous and witty introspection eschewing the somber pining of 2016's Away..."
"...Will Sheff strikes hardest when he's strafing the cultural subconscious, exhuming within his dense, hyper-literate narratives the tenuous traumas and defining details of his characters that sync to larger, and deeper social truths. He's also one of the few songwriters who works better behind a theme, his allusion-laden lyrics and arrangements layering best upon a concept..."