Tim McGraw explained, a bit, his song “Portland, Maine” Friday morning.

The song stirred up southern Maine when it came out a couple of weeks ago with its oft-repeated refrain, “Portland, Maine. I don’t know where that is. I don’t want to know.”

At first it sounded like he was dissing the state’s largest city, but “Portland, Maine” is a break-up song. It turns out the ex-girlfriend of the character sung by McGraw has left him and set off for Portland. And the character isn’t much interested in finding out exactly where that is.

McGraw called the Portland country radio station 99.9 The Wolf on Friday morning and said that the song “is not to be taken literally,” isn’t about him and shouldn’t be taken to mean that he doesn’t know where Portland is and doesn’t care.

McGraw paints a portrait of a man apparently so devastated by the breakup that not only he doesn’t want to be bothered with learning where Portland is, he’s not interested in much of anything.

“He’s not even getting up off his porch,” McGraw said. “I picture a guy laying around his house, eating Doritos, who doesn’t know what the next city down the street is.”


McGraw, who didn’t write the song, said Portland gained title billing because “Portland, Maine, just seems to sing really well.”

Beyond that, McGraw didn’t mention the song or the city until a brief mention at the end of the phone interview, which ran about 8 minutes.

The country star said he was hoping to get to Portland soon, although he didn’t mention any specific time. McGraw last played in Portland 16 years ago, although he did have a concert in Bangor in May.

He also didn’t mention an offer by Portland Mayor Michael Brennan to show him around town, assuming McGraw can find his way here.

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