February 26, 2009

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The Dailey show
One songwriter’s musical science project

By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Since breaking onto the Boston music scene in 2003, singer-songwriter Will Dailey has been determined to cut a path for his musical career.

In 2004, he even sold his car to pay for the release of his first full-length solo album, GoodbyeRedBullet. Now with a 2006 Boston Music Award under his belt, and his music featured on shows like Eli Stone and CSI: New York, he’s doing it with a special series of EPs called Torrent. Dailey will be digitally releasing EPs every three months, each a collection of recent songs reflecting a certain theme or mood.

“I got the idea because I like to write songs,” Dailey said in a Feb. 19 interview. “I wanted to find a method that could best meet my creative process. When you’re making an album, it’s a lengthy process and a lot of waiting. With my last album, there were a couple of songs that I wished I could have popped onto it, so I thought an idea like this would be great. The music industry being what it is now, I thought it was a good paradigm to use. You can buy one of them for $5 and get a complete idea. It seemed like a recession-proof idea.”

For the first EP of the series, Fashion of Distraction (released Jan. 20), Dailey used a theme of the music of the ’60s and early ’70s as the cornerstone idea. The popular group The Byrds was a large inspiration for the songs, and in fact, former Byrds member Roger McGuinn guested on the song “Peace of Mind.”

So for the Torrent EPs, what comes first for Dailey, the song or the theme? “It’s a little bit of both actually,” Dailey said. “For Fashion of Distraction, I was looking back on these songs that I’d done and saw that they had a particular theme. Whenever you sit back and look at what you did every day, you find that something is always coming out and developing.”

With his next EP, By the Blue Hill, which is due to be released on March 17, Dailey put together a collection of songs in homage to his town of Boston. Fittingly, the EP features a who’s-who of famed Boston musicians, including The Cars’ Elliott Easton, Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, Tim Brennan of The Dropkick Murphys, and Tanya Donnelly of Belly and Throwing Muses. Getting the artists for By the Blue Hill was also a surprisingly straightforward task for Dailey.

“What I really learned this year was the power of asking,” Dailey said. “Saying, ‘I hear you on this song and it won’t be the same without you on it.’ I figured, what do I have to lose?”

Fashion of Distraction, the first volume in the Torrent series, is now available on iTunes and Amazon.com, and By the Blue Hills will follow in March. That month, the two EPs will also be paired as physical copies and will include extras and be presented in a high-resolution audio format called CODE.

Dailey doesn’t see Torrent as a revolutionary idea but rather as a necessity for young artists.

“I don’t think doing a bunch of EPs is a shock,” Dailey said. “You look at artists like Radiohead and even Pearl Jam who I heard are doing something similar. All of those guys have been birthed off of the old system of what used to work, but for people like me, it’s a different game.”

“Aside from having the longevity to continue to do Torrent, I like the idea of being able to be a part of something larger than yourself,” Dailey said. “This fall I got to play Farm Aid, and realizing that my art brought me there, to this collective moment that was bigger than me, is something I’d like to continue.”


Will Dailey w/ The Brew
When: Friday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m.
Where: The Shaskeen, 909 Elm St., Manchester

More info: www.willdailey.com