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Maggie Björklund, 'Lysglimt'

Since 2005, the Imaginational Anthem series has uplifted young talent and uprooted lesser-known vets who primarily perform solo guitar. For the 11th volume dubbed Chrome Universal, Nashville's Luke Schneider curates beyond the acoustic guitar to feature nine pedal steel artists who work across country, folk, ambient and improvised music. "I think it's an instrument that begs to be used texturally," the artist Chuck Johnson told NPR in 2020, "and outside the way it was originally designed to be used."

Maggie Björklund is a Danish pedal steel guitarist who spent the '90s with the country band Darleens, and has studio credits on albums by Jack White and Giant Sand. It's her contribution, "Lysglimt," that truly stokes the imagination's fire. What begins low and slow, drawing dusky blues across a glowing sky, transforms her pedal steel into a throbbing, industrial instrument by pitting staccato feedback against a mourning melody. The effect is reminiscent of Daniel Lanois' own dubbed-out experiments, but Björklund gathers the pedal steel's dust like stars worth preserving.

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