Lisa Marie Presley has weathered personal storms with grace. On her new album, she establishes her own distinct identity.
Lisa Marie Presley has weathered personal storms with grace. On her new album, she establishes her own distinct identity. Troy Paul
Lisa Marie Presley is a curiosity. Famous from birth, she is rock's only real princess. Her face is a stunning combination of her parents' best features. Her marriages have been, well, unusual. Who could forget her awkward television kiss with then-husband Michael Jackson? Or the few months of wedded bliss to actor and Elvis fanatic Nicolas Cage? She has led a colorful life — one that overshadowed her music career when she started making records in 2003. But on her new album, Storm and Grace, she has found her voice.
With help from producer T-Bone Burnett, Lisa Marie Presley has finally settled into a comfortable groove as an artist. Gone are the oversized production values and the elevated vocal style of her prior work in favor of a more natural approach. Burnett specializes in creating atmospheric Americana; moody soundscapes driven by big, resonant bass lines. It's a unique sonic stamp, and part of his skill as a producer lies in finding projects that wear it well. It's the kind of backdrop for which Presley's voice cries out.
Ironically, Lisa Marie Presley moved to England and worked with members of Britpop groups such as Pulp and Travis for Storm and Grace, yet it brought her closer to her roots. It's almost impossible to hear the name Presley and not think of Elvis, and that's a burden that his only child must bear. But Lisa Marie has a tongue-and-cheek message in the form of "Sticks and Stones," aimed at anyone who would trade places with her for her famous name.
Lisa Marie Presley says she was in a disheartened state when she started writing these songs. Now in her mid-40s, she has already outlived her legendary father and experienced plenty of heartbreak, some of which she's poured into this album. But while her voice takes an occasional melancholy turn, the overall message is hopeful. Storm and Grace seems to have brought her back to life.