Whether high-fiving drinking buddies in the Old Port or spinning skin-crawling murder tales with a genuine Johnny Cash growl, Jesse Pilgrim has woven himself into the fabric of a welcoming Maine music scene.

Fresh off the success of “Trial & Error,” an LP with many moods, Pilgrim is getting more and more notice, to the point where offhand observations are now dubbed political statements.

Pilgrim seems handcrafted to be a Maine woods spokesperson; his rough-and-tumble approach is a natural fit. Check out Pilgrim’s road-testing tracks at Bayside Bowl on Friday night.

How did you draw on Portland’s wealth of talent to make “Trial & Error” with your band The Bonfire?

Playing open-mic nights at Slainte and Dogfish in the winter and spring after I finished my last semester of USM helped me meet and introduce myself to most of the musicians that I now play with.

Most of the members of The Bonfire all have other projects going on at the same time, and it helps to keep the music constantly changing and morphing. 

What have some of your favorite shows of the year been so far?

My favorite show by far every year is the Arootsakoostik Music Festival in New Sweden, Maine. Hanging out in the woods six hours north of Portland, watching my favorite bands, is always at the top of my list.

Are you a political songwriter?

A lot of people have started labeling my music and writing style as very political, and I can understand where they are coming from with my songs “American Years” and “. . . Paul LePage,” but I just write about what I see happening around me in the state of Maine and America. I’m not trying to force my opinion on anyone, I just want to open some eyes.

Who among Maine musicians floors you with their gifts and why?

Wesley Hartley, Chriss Sutherland and Aly Spaltro. These musicians all have something special. They have style, they have writing skills and they all really, really know how to play a guitar. Everything else is just icing on the cake. 

You’re a country boy these days, living out in the woods. Does writing come more easily?

As of right now, I don’t have any Internet access, so I have been trying to read as much as possible. I find the more I read the more I write, so yes, it does come a bit easier out here in West Bath.

I tend to write more in the winter, though. I am too tempted to be out on my mountain bike when it’s nice out.

When will we see the follow-up to “Trial & Error,” and will it sound the same?

The next album should be done by this winter. I have been talking to Eternal Otter Records about a possible full-length vinyl release. The next album is going to be a little more bare-bones of a record; more acoustic, and a little folkier. I have a lot of it recorded at this point, and I am still in the process of deciding which songs to use.

Dating a band member . . . isn’t that against the rules?

Some people might say so, but Margaret (Chapin) and I were dating before she joined the band. I felt like some of my songs needed female vocals, and I had a girlfriend with an amazing voice. Seemed pretty logical, I guess. 

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