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Photo Credit: Elaine Pidgeon
Rebecca Pidgeon has been an actor as long as she’s been a songwriter. She formed her first band, the folk-rock Ruby Blue, while in her early 20s in Edinburgh, about the same time she acted in her first film. She has continued, ever since, to make albums in between films and television series and plays.
Pidgeon’s fascination with filmmaking, both its beauty and its seamier exploitative side, takes center stage in her 11th full-length studio album Songs of LA, out February 23 in CD and digital formats. These songs, composed with long-time writing partner David Batteau, reimagine legendary figures like the pioneering female aviator Poncho Barnes, who flew stunts in Hell’s Angels, and Betty Page, the 1950s pin-up girl who mysteriously disappeared at the height of her popularity.
Pidgeon grew up in Scotland, influenced early on by both traditional folk music and the artier end of punk and goth. She loved Kate Bush and David Bowie. She and her friend Roger Fife started Ruby Blue while Pidgeon was still an acting student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The band signed to Red Flame in 1986, then to Phonogram in 1988, and made two albums and several singles through the late 1980s and early 1990s, though Pidgeon left in 1990 to pursue an acting career in the U.S.
Eventually, she met Joni Mitchell producer Larry Klein and made a series of albums with him in the aughts, lounge-y Tough on Crime, the bossa nova influenced Behind the Velvet Curtain, which included her Beach Boys’ cover “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and Slingshot. It was while working on Slingshot in 2011 that Pidgeon first started writing with David Batteau. She took over producing her own albums to sharpen and harden the sound of her next few albums: 2013’s Blue Dress On and Bad Poetry in 2014. Sudden Exposure to Light/Comfort, a double LP, followed. Parts of Speech, Pieces of Sound from 2022 drew on Pidgeon’s lifelong study of Iyengar yoga.
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