Kevin O’Reilly. Submitted photo.

WEST BETHEL — Local singer and songwriter Kevin O’Reilly recently released a new song called “Wear A Mask” to raise money for The Portland Artist Relief Fund.

The rather new relief fund awards grants to artists living and working in the Portland area who have been heavily impacted financially by COVID-19.

“I’m lucky that I have a daytime job to fall back on. I have other friends who have scrambled to keep themselves afloat. This is my way of supporting them,” O’Reilly said.

According to O’Reilly, the song was originally made as a parody of the 1980s hit song “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. With the help of his friends, he was able to throw together the song and video fast.

However, the excitement was short lived. When O’Reilly reached to the band for permission, they were not interested in having him use their song, so it was back to the drawing board. O’Reilly admitted he thought about giving up on his song, but decided that he had worked too hard not to go forward with it.

“I took the lyrics and recorded a new song and video, incorporating the previous video clips,” he said.


In his song, the musician of 35 years infuses heavy metal, new wave, Celtic and jam band sounds, all styles of music he has experience with over the course of his musical career, which includes six solo records and playing folk music with the Dave Rowe Trio all over the northeast.

O’Reilly said he has received mostly positive reviews regarding his song since its release earlier this month. On top of helping out other artists, O’Reilly said the song was also written to make mask wearing fun.

“The goal was to make mask wearing positive. I want people following CDC guidelines, so my friends can get back to work,” he said.

And for music friends, getting back to work is important considering the toll the virus has taken on the music community.

“It’s been sort of a roller coaster since March when everything shutdown and people had to stop playing,” he said.

O’Reilly said that in the summer it was easier for people to perform because they could play outside and social distancing could be practiced. But in the fall, it became hard again when the warm weather went away. Another thing O’Reilly mentioned was that some venues/clubs that previously hosted live performers were now closed, further impacting musicians.


“I got friends that have supported me over the years and now I’m just trying to find a way to help them,” O’Reilly said. “I am thankful for the people who have contributed by buying the song or contributing directly to the fund. They are helping to keep artists afloat during a turbulent time.”

Wear a Mask can be purchased at and at The video is also available on YouTube:

People interested in learning more about Kevin at

O’Reilly has lived in Bethel for about 20 years and currently works as a Guidance Counselor at Oxford Hills.

Before COVID-19, O’Reilly used to frequently play at Hoot Night at the Suds Pub with Denny Breau and Pat Tamminen. He has also played with fellow local musicians Doug Alford, Jim McLaughlin, Tom Zicarelli and Laurin Parker.




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