‘Married’ no longer, Sagal reclaims her true voice

Not too far into her set at the Plush Room in San Francisco Tuesday, Katey Sagal told the audience, “My secret passion is for songwriting … but my life kind of took a different turn.”

That offhand, unspecific remark was the only reference to the fact that she’s probably best known as Peg Bundy from TV’s “Married With Children.” In real life, she’s nothing like the character. And judging from her spirited singing performance, it looks like she’s taking a solid turn back on a journey she was meant to follow, which she began as a child. As a youngster, she said, “I kept thinking I was Laura Nyro” — even though her family told her she wasn’t.

But that’s not a half-bad comparison. Her melodic original tunes have a deep, 1960s-’70s sensibility thoroughly appreciated by the folks who came to see her, wondering just what she might do.

She has a solid background as a vocalist, having performed backup for the likes of Bette Midler, Etta James and Bob Dylan, whose songs she covered: “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry” and “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”

Backed by guitarists Bob Thiele and Billy Watts, drummer Debra Dobkin, keyboardist Dillon O’Brian and vocalist Billy Valentine, she sang a moving version of Patty Griffin’s “Let Him Fly.” Yet her original songs, co-written by Theile, were the show’s standouts. Themes focused on disillusionment (“Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”), patience (“Can’t Hurry the Harvest”) and facing change in tunes that ranged from somewhat bouncy pop to ballads to belt-out blues (“September Rain”) at which she excelled.

She sang songs about her family and growing up — “Daddy’s Girl” and the infectious “I Wish I Was a Kid,” co-written by Thiele and her husband — and followed with Charlie Chaplin’s always poignant “Smile.” For the last tune, she got her enthusiastic listeners feeling the groove again with Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody is a Star.”

Sagal, whose most recent album is called “Room,” certainly has the appeal of a singing star; her act is worth checking out.

Katey Sagal

Where: Empire Plush Room, York Hotel, 940 Sutter St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today through Saturday

Tickets: $50

Contact: (866) 468-3399 or www.theempireplushroom.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

A construction worker watches a load for a crane operator at the site of the future Chinatown Muni station for the Central Subway on Tuesday, March 3, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Major construction on Central Subway to end by March 31

SFMTA board approves renegotiated contract with new deadline, more contractor payments

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Settlement clears path for all youth, high school sports to resume in California

John Maffei The San Diego Union-Tribune All youth and high school sports… Continue reading

State to reserve 40 percent of COVID-19 vaccines for hard-hit areas

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation State officials said Thursday that… Continue reading

Neighbors and environmental advocates have found the Ferris wheel in Golden Gate Park noisy and inappropriate for its natural setting. <ins>(</ins>
Golden Gate Park wheel wins extension, but for how long?

Supervisors move to limit contract under City Charter provision requiring two-thirds approval

Most Read