Joe Gallant and the Transit are a newer addition to the local music scene. Gallant has had a solo project in the past, and now he is full on with a backing band that elevates and accentuates the best and most appealing aspects of his music. Their new CD, due for release May 20, is “The Rise and the Fall.”

With a twangy, smooth and hooky style, we are introduced to the man and the band via the first song, “Bandages and Whiskey.”

Amid stomping beats, like a heart beating to sustain life, Gallant delivers a sincere and honest performance, straight forward from the first few seconds of the tune, to the last. The image is more honky tonk than alternative, and one can imagine the band making the rounds in some dusty but popular venues in Nashville.

Speaking of Nashville, in the second track, “Nashville Soon,” we are treated to some lovely piano work, followed by the sultry voice of Gallant, and then we are nicely introduced to Portland’s musical sweetheart, Amy Allen, who adds some beautiful harmony work, adding spice and flavor, yet not too much fire to the pan.

Picking up the pace a bit, “Locomotive” delivers a tasty electric guitar and country pop feel. With all the right pieces mixed in at the right time, the song is well structured by the artist, and then refined by the production team and has the feel yet again of being somewhere south of Ohio. With an irreverent tone and lusty lyrics, this tune would fit right in with many successful alt/country pop artists of today.

“Sweet Rebellion” (featuring vocal riffs from Portland’s own Will Mallett) is a shuffling song, with the drumming driving the tune, but it gives it a strong but oxymoronic soft feel at the same time.

Rounding out the CD, is the song, “Love Ain’t So Bad.” This is an introspective and loosely composed tune. It was nice to feel the space between verses. When the other songs were tightly woven together, this one let you breathe and release.

With thoughtful changes in chord progression and space for guitar to ring out when needed, the song really stands out, and is a perfect ending tune to the compilation.

Kristin DiCara McClellan is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at:

kjoydmac@yahoo.com