As a lot of you know by now, one of the perks of this job is discovering up-and-coming talent performing in our fair state, especially when that talent is Maine born and bred. Such is the case with this week’s artist. A young gentleman by the name of Joseph Gallant, who will be performing Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor.

The new country singer/songwriter contacted me with notification of that show and within a couple of hours we had set up a day and time to chat about the show, his career so far, and the fact that he’s celebrating his new single “Better Buzz.” I began by mentioning that song, noting that it was very current and definitely radio-friendly, in short, a very strong track, professionally done.
Gallant: Oh, good to hear — thank you!

Q: Is this your first single?
Gallant: No, I did three EPs before this dating back to 2012 or 2011, maybe? But, yeah, I decided to switch over to a shorter format this last recording session. We did that song and then we did another one that’s a lot more outside the box than that song is, it’s almost like an R&B song. So, we’ve got this one (“Better Buzz”) running and then that other one’s going to come in November, but we don’t have the exact info on it yet. Yeah, I’m glad you liked it. It’s just nice to hear, it’s been super well-received. I mean, “Better Buzz” has almost out-streamed the rest of my catalog in like three weeks.

Q: Wow!
Gallant: Yeah, it’s pretty cool to watch it grow — I’m not used to seeing those kind of numbers.

Q: Now, are you touring to support this release?
Gallant: Yeah, so I’m actually headed back home on Friday morning — to Boston, rather, and then I’ve got radio visits basically Friday through Tuesday, and then I’ve got a four-date run in support of an artist named Granger Smith. So, we’ve got two dates in Burlington, one in Hampden, New Hampshire, then we’re doing the Aura in Portland on the 14th — that’s one little leg of it and then I go out with an artist named Rodney Atkins in October. And then I’m doing some stuff on my own around here.

Q: Where am I calling now?
Gallant: I’m in Nashville. I live in Nashville now. I did the Portland circuit for years until about 2 and ½ years ago, and then I just sort of incorporated a different strategy as opposed to building a band: “I’m going to do this alone and just play solo!” Sort of package it like this.

Q: Where have you performed in Maine as a solo artist?
Gallant: I got a show at the Asylum, it was the first one I got before the renovation — with Granger Smith, weirdly enough. Then I picked up a show at the State Pier after that and then I played in front of 5,000 people by myself with an acoustic guitar — I was like: “Well, I’ve never done this before but it sure was fun!” and I’ve sort of stuck with it since then.

Q: Now the show I’ll be promoting with our chat today is in Bar Harbor, correct?
Gallant: The Rodney Atkins show in October — yeah, it’s at the Criterion Theatre, it’s a cool spot … I played with a band called Montgomery Gentry there last summer — that show’s on Oct. 3.

Q: Do I understand correctly that you are going to be doing just digital releases now instead of hard copies like CDs and vinyl?
Gallant: Yeah, correct — it’ll be like Spotify or Apple, Pandora, Amazon, that kind of deal. Hopefully we’re building toward a full-length record at some point, which is something I’ve never done — I’ve always done five- or six-song EPs. But just the way people are listening to it now we decided not to press anything physical with this one.

Q: Now, as far as the songwriting end of things goes, is “Better Buzz” one of yours?
Gallant: Yeah, yup. In country music most of the songs you hear have a minimum of two writers but usually three. Everything I’ve actually put out has all been a solo-write.

Q: Is songwriting something that comes easy to you?
Gallant: No.

Q: Okay, I got that. So you said that you have those two new tracks, are you working on anything else?
Gallant: Where we’re going right now is sort of checking boxes of securing a real booking agent — which we’re close with — and securing publishing and then ultimately a record deal. And so what we’re going to do is just put out as much quality music as possible in quicker increments as opposed to going a year or two in between releases — which was what we were doing before. Right now I don’t have a massive fan base but I do have attention right now so I want to try to continue to foster that while I have them, you know what I mean?

Q: Yes, I believe I do.
Gallant: I’ve read all the different strategies and then all I was trying to do for a while was hack the system. It was like, “Oh, you’ve got to do this to get people to do that!” But at the end of the day, if you just have the right music it doesn’t matter how you do it (chuckle) — just as long as it’s out there.

Q: How about a little of your local history. Do I understand that you’re a Bath native?
Gallant: Yeah, I grew up in Bath and then I ended up going to high school in Wiscasset, then I went to University of  Maine at Farmington. After college I moved to the Greater Portland area where I stayed until I moved down here almost a year ago.

Q: Did the move to Nashville have a positive impact on you music career?
Gallant: Yeah, I mean I think so. Nashville is a really cool city — I do miss home, though. Tennessee is beautiful but in a different way, but from an industry standpoint it’s cool being completely immersed in a big group of people who are all trying to advance themselves in different ways.

Q: Is there anything, Joseph, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Gallant: No, I’m just trying to kind of raise a little bit more awareness to a different crowd that we’re here making music in support of the single and the shows — I think that kind of hits it. (

Lucky Clark has spent 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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