A Few Good Reasons to Buy Pedal Steel Guitarist Maggie Bjorklund's New Record--and See Her Play at the Tractor Tonight

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The name Maggie Bjorklund might not be familiar to most of us, but the Danish pedal steel player, composer, and guitarist has connections to the Seattle music scene that run deep. She's played and recorded with everyone from Mark Pickerel and Mark Lanegan to Rusty Willoughby and Rachel Flotard, and has sat in as a session player for producer Steve Fisk. And her debut solo album Coming Home (out 3/22) is a rich, reverby, pedal steel-tinged landscape that sounds like the Twin Peaks soundtrack dubbed over a psychedelic spaghetti Western. But if all this doesn't thrill you, here are a few more reasons to think about why you should head to the show tonight--and get your hands on her awesome new CD.

Go to the show: The bill alone is a stand-up Seattle alt-country showcase. It's singer/songwriter Shelby Earl's Burn the Boats CD release, and Jason Dodson (of the Maldives) is performing in addition to headliners Rusty Willoughby and Rachel Flotard and their group, Cobirds Unite. With all the talent on the roster, this could be some crazy Seattle supergroup in the making.

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Buy the CD: Bjorklund's rhythm section is Calexico. It's John Convertino and Joey Burns of Calexico, actually, and the album has that Southwestern Calexico stamp with waltzing Spanish guitars, soft drums, and their tell-tale wailing Mexican horns.

Buy the CD: Mark Lanegan sings a brooding harmony next to Bjorklund's wispy vocals. It's similar to the stuff he does with Isobel Campbell, only Bjorklund plays up the melancholia with equally expressive pedal steel and eerie vocals more like Julee Cruise than Snow White. (In addition to Lanegan, Coming Home also features Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin. Plus great twangy vocals from Flotard.)

Go to the show: Billed on the Tractor's site as "lush, intelligent Americana," there's no telling what's in store for the evening. Dodson is listed playing "with friends" so there's the possibility the entire Maldives--including Tomo Nakayama, who's been performing almost nonstop lately--will show up. Bjorklund often plays with Mark Pickerel, so maybe he'll throw down a drum solo or two. Heading to South by Southwest in a couple weeks, Cobirds Unite is bound to put on a good show. Who knows who else might be chugging PBRs under the Tractor's string of cowboy boots?

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