It’s been four years since singer, songwriter, and actress Rebecca Pidgeon issued Behind the Velvet Curtain. In the interim, she has appeared in five films and on television. Along with her real life responsibilities as a mother and wife, one can only wonder where she found time to write, let alone record Slingshot, her debut offering for Decca. With longtime producer Larry Klein, it is for all intents and purposes a breakthrough for Pidgeon, one that showcases her creative maturity, raw nerve, and skill: it peels away whatever is unnecessary in order for song itself to speak. Pidgeon co-wrote all but one song, a sparse, radical, reading of Warren Zevon’s “Searching for a Heart” that gets at the quivering undercurrents in the original’s vulnerability. The vast majority of these songs were composed with Klein, but also with David Batteau, Freedy Johnston, and one, a gorgeous country waltz entitled “Baby Please Come Home Again,” with her husband David Mamet. Slingshot is direct, searingly honest, and filled with melodies and arrangements that move effortlessly between jazzy folk, pop, Americana, and even rock. With an ace group of players who are no strangers to subtleties — Dean Parks, Tim Young, Patrick Warren, Jay Bellerose, and David Pilch — Pidgeon’s songs are warm and inviting yet possess a steely, courageous backbone and the precision of a stiletto in expressing what is often mercurial. The hooky rock single “Disintegration Man” is an atmospheric anthem; it asserts people should quit looking for political saviors and figure it out for themselves (it’s been claimed by the right and the left in an election season — both sides miss its point). “Get Up, Get Out,” with its laid-back marching rhythm, is about trying to shake off the aftermath of a broken love affair: “I’m belted and booted/The night is my country…I’ve got my devil inside me/An angel above me/I’m ready for someone/Who’s ready to love me.” “Sweet Hand of Mercy” is its twin, though more quietly elegant; her protagonist meets the wounded being in the mirror with compassion and empathy — it may be the album’s best moment. Other than the single, the rest are love songs. They express its joys, complexities, tenuousness, failure, and the desire to embrace the most difficult of situations with accountability and openness. Pidgeon’s view here is that love itself is one thing that has the purifying power to redeem us –from ourselves. Songs such as “Is Anyone?” “Kiss Me,” “Tremble,” and “In a Lonely Place” all get at these notions with expert craft, aplomb, and consummate honesty. Slingshot may be categorized as “adult alternative,” but it’s simply adult; a mature statement from a songwriter who is in a class of her own.


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