Malin Pettersen’s new album Wildhorse is a collection of traveling songs, and her career has definitely been acting like a wild horse lately. It is constantly taking her in new and different directions, delivering unknown opportunities and placing her in front of unfamiliar audiences. Her solo debut album landed her a Spellemann award (Norwegian Grammy) and widespread praise back home. But it was the mini-album Alonesome that catapulted her into many music lovers’ consciousness internationally.
“Pause”, the first single off of Alonesome was coined “an absolute stunner” by Paste Magazine, while Rolling Stone Country praised the releases’ title track. Pettersen wowed audiences at AmericanaFest 2019 in Nashville, which was followed by an album stream from Billboard Magazine in October. In January 2020, she turned heads at London’s Americana UK and her SXSW calendar was chock full until a worldwide crisis emerged. But these unforeseen obstacles will not stop Malin Pettersen.
In between all of this, she’s found time to record her second full-length album in Nashville, her home away from home. Recorded with seasoned musicians who have performed alongside Kacey Musgraves, Nikki Lane, Colter Wall and the house band at the Grand Ole Opry, there is no shortage of musical chops on display.
“You know, I just got on a plane to go record with these four guys I had barely met before,” Pettersen said of the experience. “And I really do feel like we made something special.”
For everyone who’s heard Pettersen before, it’s her showstopping voice that reins the listener in – and her songwriting that keeps them there. While her previous album was a collection of sparsely recorded solo songs, this a full-fledged band record that contains breezy west coast pop, groovy country, ballroom ballads, rowdy honkytonk and modern Americana – all obvious sounds from an artist reaching her – thus far – creative peak.
The songs are written in the tumultuous times we are living in – in Pettersen’s own career, but also in a broader sense. They’re about travel, movement, longing, discovery and wonder. About leaving your “Hometown” to go chasing a “Wildhorse Dream,” about living and getting to know yourself better along the way. And finally, it’s about wanting flowers on your grave. These songs are travel songs in more ways than one. “I always seek to understand the world I am in, and the journey we are all on, a little better,” Pettersen says.
Wildhorse was recorded in the Nashville studio Music City U.S.A. with Aaron Goodrich, Ryan A. Keith, Misa Arriaga and Eddy Dunlap with contributions by Dennis Crouch, Logan Ledger, Ben Sanders, Mike Eli and Emily Keith.
Released Date: October 16, 2020
5.Let’s Go Out
7.I Don’t Care
11.Queen of the Meadow
OVERALL RATING: 4 stars