When a session player steps out front for their solo debut, you expect to discover who they really are as an artist. With steel guitarist Maggie Bjorklund, that sense of "this is who I am, and here's how I write, play and sing" never quite comes through. As a collection, the album is fine, but no song among the 11 quite defines her artistic individuality. Perhaps it's the dreamy, ethereal nature of the songs. Since the album never really kicks into a higher gear, one song blends into the next.
Or possibly it's because the Denmark native leans heavily on past colleagues, with vocal assists from Mark Lanegan, Rachel Flotard and The Posies' Jon Auer. Her musicianship and vocals seldom stand out front and center.
The few distinguishable solo steel riffs are okay, but since this is a musician's record, there's an expectation - deservedly or not - for some fiery licks. And unfortunately, since Bjorklund never delivers the goods, it's hard for newcomers to her music to know just how good she is.
Bjorklund has made a name for herself among alternative rock and country artists and plays on Exene Cervenka's new solo album. It's apparent that the talent is there; she just needs to muster the courage and confidence to step out front - damn the consequences and potential criticism - so we can hear who Maggie Bjorklund is as an artist and performer.