Will Sheff (Okkervil River) – UK/European Tour Starts This Week & Shares New Double-Sided Single

November 13, 2023
Photo Credit: Bret Curry




Will Sheff, known for his work with his acclaimed indie rock project Okkervil River, is heading over to the UK and Europe for a tour starting this week.

Full dates are below. Tickets are available here.

Wed 15 Nov – Bogen F – Zurich, Switzerland

Sat 18 Nov – Spazio 211 – Torino, Italy

Sun 19 Nov – Teatro Girolamo Magnani – Fidenza, Italy

Tue 21 Nov – MONK – Circolo Arci – Roma, Italy

Wed 22 Nov – Circolo Arci Bellezza – Milano, Italy

Fri 24 Nov – Blue Bird Festival – Vienna, Austria

Mon 27 Nov – Bush Hall – London, UK

Tue 28 Nov – St Mary’s Centre – Chester, UK 

Wed 29 Nov – Clwb Ifor Bach – Cardiff, UK 

Thu 30 Nov – The Cornish Bank – Falmouth, UK 

To celebrate my upcoming tour of Europe and the United Kingdom, I’m proud to announce a new double-sided single featuring two songs that were recorded for Nothing Special but which both felt like little worlds unto themselves, so I set them aside to shine together.  

For the first of these songs, “Tommy McHugh,” I was beyond honored to sing with the brilliant Bridget St. John, whose music I have treasured for a long time.   

Written with Christian Lee Hutson, “Tommy McHugh” is a song based on a real person who grew up in in Liverpool. As a young man, he was involved in theft and violent crime and did some time in prison. And then, at age 51, he suffered a massive haemorrhage on both sides of his brain. After a week in a coma, McHugh woke up to discover that he had a compulsive urge to paint and to speak in rhyme. He also found that his personality had changed. In his own words:   I wasn’t the person they were telling me who I was. I wasn’t the Tommy McHugh they knew… My head was full of rhymes and images and pictures… I’ll paint three or six nine pictures at a time. Canvasses became too costly, so I started painting the ceilings and the wallpaper and the floor. I can’t stop painting and sculpting. It’s like Mount Etna exploding… I like what I’m being, what I am. I’m happy being the Tommy I am now, not the Tommy people remember. Whatever happened inside my brain I find it absolutely fantastic.  

McHugh went on to open a gallery in Birkenhead for amateur artists suffering from illness. Shortly before his 2012 death from cancer, he commented, “My two strokes have given me 11 years of a magnificent adventure.” 

The second song in this pair, “Some News,” is the first song I wrote when I moved to California. I wrote the music with Will Graefe and then slowly wrote the lyrics line-by-line in my head while walking the dog and exploring our new neighborhood.”

The new singles are enthralling, delicate and completely moving. These fragile landscapes come to life through the powerful and intimate lyrics and harmonies.

Will Sheff released his solo debut album ‘Nothing Special’ last year. Produced by Sheff and recorded over three different sessions with John Congleton (St. Vincent, The War On Drugs), Matt Linesch (Edward Sharpe, Gil Landry), and Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers, Conor Oberst), ‘Nothing Special’ finds Sheff reprocessing his sense of self, reflecting on misguided past ambitions, and reclaiming his sense of purpose. It’s an album that consolidates Sheff’s considerable strengths as a songwriter — deft poeticism, earnest and earned emotionality, a knack for melodic catharsis — and casts them onto a broad and unhurried sonic architecture. Like the album’s artwork, it finds Sheff gazing out into the expanse and witnessing the possibilities that await.

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