Okkervil River | Collective Arts Black Box Sessions

Will Sheff of Okkervil River performs "Famous Tracheotomies" and "Don't Move Back To LA" live in the Collective Arts Black Box

Okkervil River’s ninth album In the Rainbow Rain, released earlier this year, finds bandleader and revered lyricist Will Sheff pursuing a brighter, more hopeful style of songwriting. “It’s a buoyant and playful record,” Sheff says in a press release, “but also open and emotionally vulnerable. I wanted to make a record where a sense of kindness felt encoded into the music.”

The album’s opener “Famous Tracheotomies” details Sheff’s brush with mortality as a child, before analyzing celebrities who have gone through a similar experience. “This song starts out with an anecdote from my childhood and then dips into some other peoples’ lives. Tracheotomies are fascinating because they either end very happily or very sadly and they’re always dramatic. I worked hard to make sure every detail in this song is true, to the best of my knowledge.”

On the album’s first single “Don’t Move Back to LA” Sheff says he “had a very straightforward impulse behind it: a bunch of my best friends all moved to LA and I was really sad about it so I wrote a song about how I didn’t want them to leave…I think the song is also kind of about my own deep and long-held desire to get the hell out of New York City.” (Consequence of Sound)