Jesse Pilgrim wants to get up and out of Portland on his ragged long play “Trial and Error.” Well, sort of.

Two tracks in particular, “Love/Hate” and “Falling Down in Portland, Maine,” describe the complex relationship with the city by the bay. By way of some drunk punk country, the band romps around with genuine affection. For a town fond of fist pumps, Pilgrim and the Bonfire family are ideal cheerleaders.

Might it benefit the project to reach beyond Maine for the next record? Maybe, but there’s plenty of raw “wow” factor in these songs to dull the local crush. Give the Arcade Fire-y anthem “Paper Money” a spin to get a sense. The shouting crowd is infectious as the band powers the tune on with clear-eyed urgency.

Say this of Pilgrim: He has the kind of stolid Johnny Cash drawl that can be picked at and poked, but also listened to for hours. In the title track, the basso profundo rumbles out a simple tale of Maine-flavored sorrow like his folk forebears might have in the ’60s. Where a less battle-scarred artist might offer an uppity dance number to kick off the record, Pilgrim puts his unique gift front and center.

This is when Pilgrim is at his most affecting: piercing with plain-speak, right on top of the microphone. Check out bell ringer “Old Wild Bill,” a three-chord lament of one tough hombre. Humble and insistent, these stripped-down performances deserve multiple listens. Expect Pilgrim to stick around for a while, once he and his Bonfire posse realize they’re the top cowboys in town.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.