The Multi-Talented Rebecca Pidgeon
Written by Joey Franco
Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and actress Rebecca Pidgeon has a lot going for her these days. Somewhere between filming the Phil Spector biopic for HBO alongside Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, recording her 6th solo album, and touring, she also manages to squeeze in learning music theory and stresses the importance of putting family first.
TimesSquare.com recently caught up with Rebecca prior to her May 10th performance at The Highline Ballroom where she will be opening for Rusted Root.
TimesSquare: You’ve been making albums for over two decades, and this is your sixth solo effort. The album is being described as a creative breakthrough… very easy listening, some a capella. Bring us trough the creative process of creating this album.
Rebecca Pidgeon: I had made records with Larry Klein before, he’d produced records for me but we’ve never written together before, so we wanted to do that, and bring in other writers as well, and get a big collection of songs together.
TS: I read you had about 35 songs written for the album.
RP: Yes, we wrote 35 songs, and then showed what would be the best collection together.
TS: It must have been tough narrowing them down?
RP: Yes, but the ones that really wanted to be on somehow kind of poked their heads through.
TS: Where does the name of the album, Slingshot come from?
RP: That’s the name of a song, and it’s a love song that says you’re my slingshot, sling me… you make me high… you’re slinging me into this stratosphere of joy.
TS: I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews from The Boston Globe, The San Fransisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune. Did you expect such praise?
RP: No, I didn’t! I’m really overcome by the gratitude. I’m so pleased that people are enjoying it and hopefully they can spread the word and get it out there into the world. I really hope that people can hear it.
TS: You mentioned Larry Klein before, and this is your third collaboration with him. What does he bring to the table during the creation of an album?
RP: He is a wonderful songwriter, and a great producer and musical arranger. He has a wonderful ear for arrangement that are surprising and beautiful. I think he’s particularly strong as a lyricist, so I can bring a lot of stuff to him and he’ll say, this needs to go, that can stay, change this, change that. He’s very, very, helpful. I regard him really as my musical mentor.
TS: You also co-wrote one of the tracks on the album with your husband David [Mamet].
RP: Yes, we co wrote one of the tracks called Baby Please Come Home, and we were inspired to write that by Hank Williams. I thought, wow, Hank Williams writes the perfect simple song… so deep and so simple at the same time. Surely that must be easy to write, so I tried and found it wasn’t easy to write, and listed the aid of my husband. Together we made this song. It’s got the most country feel of all the songs on the record.
TS: You have two children, you have a stage career, a film career, a music career. How do you manage to balance all these elements in your life?
RP: Yes I am a bit busy, but I have a lot of help. My husband and I are very involved with our family… family comes first for us. Our daughter is now 17 … our son is 13.
TS: Are your children following in the creative footsteps of their parents?
RP: Yes they are. My daughter is writing plays and performing them… she’s acting and doing all that!
TS: With so much going on and trying to balance all these elements, do you sometimes feel that you’re either neglecting the music, or the writing, or the acting?
RP: Oh, I always feel as if I’m neglecting something. You know, you can’t do everything. I feel that as long as I’m doing right by my family, then everything is ok.
TS: I heard you’re working on guitar theory. How is that coming along?
RP: [laughing] I’ve given myself cubital tunnel syndrome! So I have to rest up a bit. I’m taking a guitarist on the road with me. I usually play my own guitar, but I have to have somebody play so I can rest it.
TS: When did you start playing the guitar?
RP: I started when I was 20… I didn’t take guitar lessons or learn music theory. I just kind of wrote without knowing what I was doing. So then lately, I decided that I wanted to learn music theory, which I really love doing.
TS: Talk to me about your upcoming performance in New York City, what should audiences expect?
RP: I’m playing with a lovely guitarist Mark Goldenberg, who’s stepped in to play for me while I’m resting my arm. I hope I get to play with him a lot in the future, he’s terrific. It’ll be an intimate and acoustic performance of some of the songs on the new record.
TS: Any of your older material?
RP: Yes, we might do a song from another record, but mainly songs from slingshot.
Rebecca Pidgeon opens for Rusted Root at The Highline Ballroom on May 10th, Doors open at 6:00pm, Showtime is at 7:30PM. Tickets are 25$. For more information visit highlineballroom.com or rebeccapidgeonmusic.com.
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