Black Sheep Boy

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Black Sheep Boy
Cover Art by William Schaff
Studio album by Okkervil River
Released April 5, 2005
Recorded 2005
Genre Indie rock, folk rock
Length 47:18
Label Jagjaguwar
Producer Okkervil River
Okkervil River chronology
Sleep and Wake-Up Songs
Black Sheep Boy
Black Sheep Boy Appendix
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars link
PopMatters (9/10) link
Pitchfork Media (8.5/10) link
Stylus Magazine A link
Tiny Mix Tapes 4/5 stars link
Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars link

Black Sheep Boy is Okkervil River's third album, released on April 5, 2005. The title is inspired by the song "Black Sheep Boy" by '60s folk singer, Tim Hardin. The album deals with Hardin's struggle with heroin addiction and Sheff's failed relationships and heartbreaks. The album cover features the work of Providence artist William Schaff.


Most of the songs for the new record were written in February 2004 in Bloomington, Indiana by Will Sheff. Sheff describes the album theme in a 2005 interview.

"The Black Sheep Boy is a fantastical character that crops up here and there on the album. In the lyrics pretty much anything in quotes is the voice of the Black Sheep Boy. I think a lot of the dirtier, rougher, more obtuse songs are the product of the Black Sheep Boy."[1]


Black Sheep Boy has received general acclaim. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 86 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim."[2]

The album was ranked #22 on’s Top 50 Albums of 2005 list.[3] The music online magazine Pitchfork Media placed Black Sheep Boy at number 174 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[4]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Black Sheep Boy"   Tim Hardin 1:18
2. "For Real"   Will Sheff 4:42
3. "In a Radio Song"   Will Sheff 5:39
4. "Black"   Will Sheff 4:39
5. "Get Big"   Will Sheff 3:55
6. "A King and a Queen"   Will Sheff 3:22
7. "A Stone"   Will Sheff 5:23
8. "The Latest Toughs"   Will Sheff 3:11
9. "Song of Our So-Called Friend"   Will Sheff 3:23
10. "So Come Back, I Am Waiting"   Will Sheff 8:03
11. "A Glow"   Will Sheff 3:43


  • Will Sheff - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Wurlitzer
  • Howard Draper - Lap Steel, Pump Organ, Mandolin, Bass, Synthesizer
  • Jonathan Meiburg - Vocals, Piano, Wurlitzer, Pump Organ, Casio SK-1, Electric Guitar
  • Travis Nelsen - Vocals, Drums, Tambourine
  • Zachary Thomas - Vocals, Bass, Mandolin
  • Seth Warren - Electronics, Drums, Vibraphone, Whirlies, Shaker
  • Amy Annelle - Harmony Vocals
  • Brian Beattie - Bowed Bass, Sampler, Field Recordings
  • Rebecca Browne - Violin
  • Alison Derrick - Viola
  • Michael Kapinus - Trumpet
  • Caroline Slack - Violin
  • Ben Westney - Cello
  • Victoria Wolff - Cello

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Funk (2005-04-27). "The Black Sheep Boys Have Arrived". PopMatters. 
  2. ^ Critic Reviews for Black Sheep Boy. Retrieved 20 June 2011
  3. ^ "Best of 2005 List". 
  4. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 

External links[edit]