Lisa Marie Presley – Storm & Grace
It might be difficult for most people to take Lisa Marie Presley seriously as a musician. Being the daughter of music’s most legendary figure Elvis, shrouded with his own myths and legends as a pop culture icon, might have made it difficult for her to break out into her own. Her short-lived marriage to Michael Jackson and the tabloid interest that followed may have also effected some potential credibility. Plus, her prior musical outputs have been inconsistent, as if she’s doing it because it’s either expected of her or simply because she can, whether she should or not. Storm & Grace is Lisa’s third album and first in over seven years but perhaps the first to truly place her in a musical backdrop that feels natural.
The attraction point of the album may not be in Lisa herself but the producer, legendary T-Bone Burnett, whose recent output has included the Hunger Games Soundtrack and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss‘ Grammy winning Raising Sand, along with countless other records including the Tony Bennett/k.d. lang collaborative record, Brandi Carlile‘s The Story, albums from John Mellencamp, the Wallflowers, Natalie Merchant, the Counting Crows and many, many soundtracks.
Stripping everything surrounding Lisa’s persona away, Storm & Grace is a legitimate sounding record. Consisting of songs penned by Lisa herself, she makes an attempt to show off both her songwriting and singing in a more natural setting compared to her other musical outputs. Her deep voice shows off a sultry quality that lays over songs in which she sings about moving on from failed relationships and a strong desire to run away from past life choices. “I own up, I try/What am I not doing right” from Un-break.
Storm & Grace is a half-n-half collaborative record with Lisa taking control of the writing and T-Bone owning the production. Sound-wise, it is pure T-Bone. The emphasis on the guitar/bass combo as the lead instruments playing equal parts to the vocals is his signature style, supported by a simple, light, yet effective drum beat. While the lyrics themselves lack the punch the songs should have, the seductive nature of Lisa’s vocals take enough focus away to provide a convincing account of what she’s trying to convey. Storm Of Nails is the best example on the record of the attitude most appropriate for the sound of the album. While Storm & Grace is mostly a mellow and folky album, Storm Of Nails is a highlight as a raw and gritty tune about revenge “And on the forecast for today/a storm of nails is headed your way/man it’s gonna rain rain rain.”
Unlike her previous recordings, Storm & Grace is Lisa Marie Presley finally taking her own music seriously by opening up to reveal her inner thoughts. With nothing hidden and little held back, the record presents paranoia, distrust and unhappiness at her own situation and relationships past and present. It’s a bold attempt at creating her own place in an industry that her own blood helped to mould yet in a way that differs from the family tree – by writing her own songs. Unfortunately, the album will likely not resurface following its initial release but it’s one that deserves some attention.
1. Over Me
2. You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
4. Close To The Edge
5. So Long
7. Soften The Blows
8. Storm Of Nails
9. How Do You Fly This Plane?
11. Storm & Grace
13. Sticks And Stones
14. I Was Wrong
15. Just A Dream