Okkervil River is an American rock band led by singer-songwriter Will Sheff. Formed in Austin, Texas in 1998, the band takes its name from a short story by Russian author Tatyana Tolstaya set on the river in St Petersburg. They began as a trio made up of Sheff and friends he had met in his native state of New Hampshire but, over time, have gone through many lineups.
Okkervil River self-released their first album, Stars Too Small to Use, which led them to the South by Southwest music festival. After recording their first album in a garage, they signed with Jagjaguwar. They continued by releasing four more albums, including the critically lauded concept album Black Sheep Boy.
After a period of touring for Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River followed up with The Stage Names. The album sold 10,000 in its opening week in the United States. The group released a free covers album, Golden Opportunities Mixtape from their live performances.
The band has garnered positive critical reception. They have appeared on the talk show Late Night with Conan O’Brien and have performed with acts such as The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, The National, and Lou Reed.
Okkervil River released the album The Stand Ins on 9 September 2008. They promoted the release with a series of cover songs from the album on YouTube by people they’ve met as a band. Their 2010 collaboration as a backing band with psychedelic rocker Roky Erickson yielded True Love Cast Out All Evil. On 10 May 2011, Okkervil River released their sixth full-length album, I Am Very Far, which peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard 200. The band released their seventh album, The Silver Gymnasium, on 3 September 2013. The album peaked at No. 66 on the Billboard 200. The band’s most recent album, Away, was released on September 9, 2016 on ATO Records.