“Sound Of Our Town” host Will Dailey is a Boston-based musician who has performed in Portland. Photo by Piasecki

Every time Boston musician Will Dailey performs in Portland, he thinks about how Elvis Presley died the day before he was supposed to play a pair of sold-out shows at the Cumberland County Civic Center in 1977.

That’s one of the local music history facts he’s included in the first episode of a new podcast, “Sound of Our Town,” which digs into the music scenes of 10 cities throughout the country, starting Thursday with Portland.

Dailey, an indie singer-songwriter that Boston Music Awards named its 2014 artist of the year, hosts the show, which examines each city’s history, venues and popular local acts. Aside from Asbury Park, New Jersey, Portland is by far the smallest of the featured locales. The others are Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Tulsa, Phoenix, Houston and Philadelphia. New episodes will be released each week.

Dailey, who has performed in Portland dozens of times since the mid-2000s and has several friends here, including singer Anna Lombard and the members of The Ghost of Paul Revere, said he chose many of the cities because of his experiences playing in them and the connections he’s made. For those he was less familiar with, like Houston, curiosity led him there.

“Sound of Our Town” is presented by iHeart, an international podcast publisher with more than 29 million monthly listeners, and Double Elvis, the Boston-based audio company behind “Disgraceland,” about musicians and true crime, which won the 2021 Webby Award for best music podcast.

Double Elvis founder and “Disgraceland” host Jake Brennan, who is also a musician, has known Dailey for years and pitched the idea for “Sound of Our Town” to him, and Dailey ran with it, though the project was put on a lengthy hold because of the pandemic.


Dailey’s mission with the podcast is to ignite the curiosity of potential visitors while also reminding longtime residents how important and transcendent live music is.

During the Portland episode, Dailey unpacks pieces of the city’s history as they relate to live music and then takes listeners on a walking tour down and around Congress Street to venues like One Longfellow Square, Blue and Space. He also ventures to some farther afield spots like Sun Tiki Studios on Forest Avenue and The Apohadion in Bayside.

He reminiscences about the days when places like The Big Easy, which closed in 2013, and Port City Music Hall, a victim of the pandemic, were still around. Dailey also credits promoter Lauren Wayne for booking artists like Brandi Carlile and Lake Street Dive at the expansive outdoor Thompson’s Point venue well before much larger cities did. No venue is too small or large to mention because, to Dailey, they all matter.

Wayne shares Dailey’s love for Portland as a music city and said Portland audiences are some of the most enthusiastic and grateful she’s ever seen, something she hears frequently from touring acts.

“The number of amazing artists and concerts we have coming through such a small city is pretty epic, and I think audiences realize that,” she said.

Dailey said in an interview last week that, although he’s not sure if the world needs more podcast content, he is certain that people need to engage in music, one of the things that set humans apart from other species.


“Music and celebrating sounds and making sounds together is as old as dirt,” he said, and he sees great value in reminding listeners of that through the podcast. “I feel like I’m investing in the soil that I grow from when I work on it.”

In the Portland episode, Dailey gives a nod to some notable Maine musicians, like veteran singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, Ellis Paul and Slaid Cleaves, while also mentioning musicians from a younger generation who grew up here and are making national names for themselves, like Amy Allen and Genevieve Stokes. It’s evident he’s done his homework.

Dailey said he doesn’t mean to sound so serious about live music but does feel strongly about underscoring its significance.

“It’s hundreds of thousands of years old, and we constantly think of music in terms of awards and streams and revenue and the business, when the greatest elixir for everything that ails us is always right there,” he said.

Dailey writes, produces and narrates the show, and composed instrumental pieces that he plays in the episodes.

Jeff Beam, executive director of One Longfellow Square, was thrilled to learn his venue got a mention in the podcast and can see why Portland would make a good subject for it. He believes the fact that Maine is tucked away in the upper corner of the country where people aren’t passing through with as much regularity as other states make the music scene more interesting.

“The result is an insulating effect that kind of preserves our uniqueness,” he said.

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