The veteran actress has six albums to her credit and performs here Saturday in Normal Heights. She has co-written some of the songs on her six albums with her husband, David Mamet.

By George Varga

Singer-songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon performs here Saturday at Lestat’s in Normal Heights. Her singing is no act.

Since 1985, when he began producing albums by his now-former wife, Joni Mitchell, Larry Klein has been the go-to-guy for first-rate artists seeking an empathetic musical partner. In addition to six albums with Mitchell, he has produced memorable recordings by an array of diverse artists, winning a number of Grammy Awards in the process. They range Herbie Hancock, Shawn Colvin, Steely Dan’s Walter Becker, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot and Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza, Klein’s wife.

His credits also include producing three increasingly assured albums by veteran actress and singer-songwriter Rebecca Pidgeon, who performs here Saturday at Lestat’s in Normal Heights (a neighborhood whose name might inspire a smile — if not a new screenplay — by her celebrated husband, David Mamet). She’ll be accompanied here by guitarist Tim Young.

“Slingshot,” Pidgeon’s sixth and most recent album (and third with Klein) includes a lovely ballad, the country-meets-doo-wop-inflected “Baby Please Come Home Again,” that she and Mamet teamed up on. The couple also co-wrote five songs on her quietly fetching debut album, 1995’s “The Raven.”

One can detect various influences in Pidgeon’s songs, including some familiar ones, like Mitchell and some obscure ones, like Slapp Happy alum Dagmar Krause. (The latter is a left-field guess on my part, based on the manner in which Pidgeon — who has no hint of Krause’s German accent — sometimes approaches an ascending vocal line ).

For the most part, though, Pidgeon sounds more comfortable in her own musical skin than many better known troubadours. In Klein, who co-wrote songs with her for “Slingshot,” she has a muy simpatico artistic partner.

The English-born Pidgeon first gained musical notice in the second half of the 1980s for her work in the group Ruby Blue. Not surprisingly, her acting career, on stage and in films, has overshadowed her music. But for a part-time troubadour, she acquits herself admirably with a winning blend of folk, country, light swing and, on “Disintegration Man,” rootsy rock that takes careful aim at political opportunists, with tart lines like: He could act empathetic, but he really don’t feel / He’s as young as Prozac, he is as old as the wheel.
Stephen Kellogg, with Rebecca Pidgen

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, May 11

Where: Lestat’s, 3343 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights

Tickets: $18

Phone: (619) 282-0437


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