Sheâs been recording albums for more than 20 years, but Rebecca Pidgeon had a creative breakthrough as she began working on the music for âSlingshot,â her compelling sixth solo effort.
âI reached a point where I had to really make a 100% commitment to it, instead of saying this is something I do thatâs not acting,â says Pidgeon.âI had to own itâ
Pidgeon does, indeed, âown itâ on âSlingshot,â an intoxicatingly adult pop album that explores the arc of love from desire to longing to despair. âI love the concept âslingshot.â Itâs such an unusual word to have in a love song,â she says of the title track: ââIâm the rock and youâre the slingshot and you sling me into the realm of joyâ.â
Other standouts include the yearning âSweet Hand of Mercy,â that recalls Joan Osborne; the electric, driving âDisintegration Man,â the jazzy, noir-ish âA Lonely Place,â and the plaintive âBaby Please Come Home.â
The deeply melodic âSlingshotâ marks the third time Pidgeon and Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux, Herbie Hancock) have collaborated. The two made an often intentionally quiet album that compellingly beckons the listener to lean in and pay attention. âThereâs simplicity and air and space to it,â she says. âThat was a conscious decision.â
In fact, Pidgeon wrote 35 songs for âSlingshot,â more than she has ever written for an album before. Working primarily with Klein and David Batteau on the âkernel of the record,â Pidgeon also wrote with Timothy Bracy and acclaimed singer/songwriter, Freedy Johnston including the deceptively jaunty, upbeat âI Love No One.â âI loved writing with Freedy,â she says. âWe [both] tend to like stories about being rather bleak. It seems more interesting.â
There were some realizations along the way. On swampy âDisintegration Man,â Pidgeon and Klein set out to make âa basic, dumb rock song,â before realizing itâs not as easy as it seems, Pidgeon laughs. âSince Iâve been learning guitar theory, Iâve been looking at all these rock stars who have their tattoos and drugs and Iâm like, âYou donât kid me! You sat in your room as a teen for hours and hours practicing your scalesâ.â
âSlingshotâ includes a co-production between Pidgeon and her husband, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright/film director David Mamet. The aching, largely a cappella âBaby Please Come Homeâ showcases Pidgeonâs vulnerable, intimate vocals. âItâs a humbling experience writing with my husbandâ, she said, âBut heâs good looking so I subject myself to itâ.
The lone cover on the set is a stirring, poignant version of Warren Zevonâs âSearching For A Heart.â The chord progression first attracted Pidgeon. âThen I was drawn in by the lyrics. Itâs so enigmatic,â she says. âIt sounds like itâs sparse, but itâs so complex. Every time I sing the song, I get something different out of itâ.
Throughout the summer and fall of 2011, Pidgeon has headlined Wine, Women & Song, a series of concerts that take place at female-run vineyards coordinated by wine company Women of the Vine. âThese women are entrepreneurs and artistsâ, she says. âThe concerts with the wine tastings have been very lovely.â
Pidgeon has also shared stages with such artists as Aimee Mann, Madeleine Peyroux, Jeffrey Gaines, Peter Himmelman, and Keb Mo, and joined founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young at the 2011 edition of Farm Aid, Aug. 13.
She looks forward to performing selections from âSlingshotâ live, though as mother of a 12-year and 16-year old, she limits her time away from her Los Angeles home. âI [tour] in burstsâ, she said. â I do it for a week or two and then I have to get back. Iâm not away for six months.â
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts graduate continues to juggle her musical efforts with her extremely successful acting career. She recently appeared in the film âRed,â alongside Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. Up next is an HBO film about record producer Phil Spector and his recent murder trial. Pidgeon stars with Al Pacino and Helen Mirren in the film directed and written by Mamet. And she, of course, is the voice of âThe Pearâ in the hugely successful webisodes, âHome Grown.â