Sunday, October 12, 2008

Song of the Week 10/10/08

At the 2006 Austin City Limits Music Festival I got my first exposure to Okkervil River. In the 100 degree heat at Zilker Park my friend Stacy said, "We should stop and watch some of Okkervil River." Even though I was wilting, I agreed. The second song we saw them do was "The President's Dead." I was immediately hooked by this tale about how a simple and beautiful day in someone's life become memorable because of an assassination of a world leader. I found the song online once I got back to New York and it started me on my path to Okkervil River fandom.

Flash forward two years--I saw Okkervill River twice in the space of 9 days, the first at ACL and the second time time Tuesday night at Webster Hall here in New York. Frontman Will Sheff opened this show up with a song that used "The President's Dead" music, but with some decidedly darker lyrics: "The President's alive. I see his face on FOX 5. My friends I feel so terrified." However, "The President's Alive" isn't about our current ineffective leader. The lyrics go on to mention "The Vice standing by" with "just one tear in her eye." To open up a show with this song, on the night of second presidential debate, well, damn, it was pretty powerful. And got me hooked on Okkervill River all over again.

BONUS: This week's song title links will take you to some cool live recordings. "The President's Dead" links to a recording from the very first time I saw Okkervill River play in 2006, while "the President's Alive" links to the very first performance of "The President's Alive" in Richmond, Virginia on October 4th. Click here to get a free download of the studio version of "The President's Dead."

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