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Lisa Marie Presley finds her roots — overseas Empty
PostSubject: Lisa Marie Presley finds her roots — overseas   Lisa Marie Presley finds her roots — overseas EmptyFri Jun 15, 2012 8:39 am

By Allison Stewart, Special to the Tribune
11:32 a.m. CDT, June 14, 2012

It's almost a cliche, this idea that Lisa Marie Presley, of the Memphis Presleys, had to move to England to record the Americana album that everybody, Presley included, feels she was born to make.

Presley's last record label had spent many years and an untold amount of money trying to make her a pop star, but it never quite took. After a long period of frustration, Presley and husband Michael Lockwood (also her guitarist) moved to England. She set up shop with a rotating batch of great songwriters, including Travis' Fran Healy and Richard Hawley from Pulp, and eventually enlisted T Bone Burnett, that fabled signifier of all things Americana, to produce what would become her third album, "Storm & Grace."

It's a better album, and certainly a better fit, than anything Presley has ever done, a soulful, roots-y folk disc that evokes Presley's father in ways she would not have been comfortable with even a few years ago. Presley, 44, and the mother of 3-year-old twins, hits the Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night as part of a brief promo tour, her first time on the road with small children in tow. "That'll be interesting," she deadpans.

Q: So you're living in England now. Please tell me you live in a manor house with liveried footmen, like on "Downton Abbey."

A: I don't. It's one of those conventional thatched-roof houses. They say it was a medieval house. I don't know what that means, but it's very interesting (looking).

Q: Could you have made this new album if you hadn't moved to England?

A: I could have made it, but it wouldn't have turned out the same. ... It took somebody not pushing me — giving me the space to do what I want — and I ended up doing the right thing. That's kind of what happened. I was set up to write with so many different writers, from pop to rock to electronic to just whatever — given so much freedom — I just wound up embracing what I should have embraced.

Q: Was there a point in your life when you thought you might not make another album?

A: I thought that a while ago. Then I thought, maybe if I just get drastic and change everything about how I make the next one, maybe I can do it again. It just wasn't a pleasant experience making the last two. And then I got off the label — that was a big part of it, shaking a lot of things off and then restarting. I went to a whole 'nother country to do that, and that just helped change everything.

Q: One reviewer said your first albums were you trying to be a pop star and this one was you trying to be an artist. Fair?

A: I do think it's fair. It's more difficult to do a record like this. A pop record is instant gratification. That's desirable for a lot of people in the business. To put out an artistically desirable record, it takes a lot more work.

Q: But it gives you a longer shelf life. You can be like Emmylou Harris, making albums like this when you're 60. A pop star couldn't do that.

A: Right. I wasn't necessarily trying to be a pop star myself, but that's kind of where I was placed. It wasn't my thing. I would much rather make albums like this one. I would.

Q: Somebody like T Bone knows what he's doing and has his own ideas, so what's it like between you two in the studio?

A: I have so much respect for him, and I was so excited he was doing this. You know, he does what he wants. He gives a lot of freedom to whoever he's working with. He's not some diva. Ever.

Q: The first time you met him, you didn't know if he would agree to produce your album, right? Were you dying?

A: Oh, yeah, I was really nervous. I walked in, and he was like, "You know, I don't really want to do a big song and dance. I love the demos, and I love where this is headed, and I want to do your record." And I said, "OK."

Q: Was the material on the new album close to what you listened to growing up?

A: I listened to everything — soul, pop, gospel, country, singer-songwriter. I always loved singer-songwriters. You name it.

Q: A lot of people might have thought your first album would naturally have sounded like this one. Was it a question of wanting to get away from what your father sounded like?

A: Yes. Without a doubt. But I was also younger and just kind of fighting my way through it, rather than letting whatever was natural happen. But you grow up, and you get there, hopefully.

Q: One of your new songs, "Sticks and Stones," has lyrics about your father, about how people expect you to be like him. Is there a feeling of self-consciousness when you write songs like that, knowing they'll be picked apart?

A: I don't really think about that when I'm writing. If I thought about that, I wouldn't write at all.


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