When my boss asked if I was going to review the new Lisa Marie Presley album, my quick and emphatic response was a head nod indicating “no.” Although I never planned on listening to the latest from the daughter of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, my curiosity got the best of me and I begrudgingly gave it a chance.
First, the somber aura found on “Storm & Grace” totally took me by surprise. Second, it is still in my CD player receiving repeated plays every trip to and from work. That’s really all you need to know. Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett masterfully fabricates the melancholy arrangements while returning Presley to her Memphis-born, Southern roots. On her first two albums, 2003’s “To Whom It May Concern” and 2005’s “Now What,” Presley attempted to capture a pop music style that simply sounded tired and completely inauthentic. On her third release, Presley’s sound contains a stripped-down, smoldering darker edge that feels raw and real.
Presley’s richly textured and breathy alto voice add vulnerability and a sexy moodiness to songs like “Over Me,” “So Long,” “Weary” and “Sticks and Stones.” On “Un-Break,” Presley sounds like a vengeful Courtney Love as she sings, “I got run over by my own parade/I’ve suffocated in the beds I’ve made.”
For her latest album, Presley collaborated with a small assortment of British songwriters to help her find her true inner voice as she strengthens her writing proficiencies with a lifetime of experiences teeming with joy and sorrow. The British insight, Burnett’s vision and Presley’s roots combine to mold a powerful portion of Americana music. It would seem that through the storms of life, the 44-year-old mother of four has finally found grace.