CD Review:


Lisa Marie Presley, Universal/Island, ASIN: B007R6X9QW

Release Dates (USA and EEC): mid May 2012; Vinyl edition: late May 2012

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, May 2012

The Official Lisa Marie Presley Website (includes Twitter and Facebook links)


For Presley, the album’s conciliatory theme grew out of wanting to have peace in her life after a period of turmoil and letting go of what no longer suited her.

"There were a few years there where everything around me had fallen apart, she says. All the things that had become my foundation were gone and I had to shed a lot of skin. I found myself really vulnerable afterward and that's what birthed the album’s vibe. It’s me without any attitude or anger at a time of rediscovery."



FINALLY, Lisa Marie Presley's (LMP) third album has arrived! It has been a long 7 years since Lisa's second studio offering, Now What, and the wait has been well worth it. Now based in England, a new recording contract with Universal Republic and collaborating with ex Bob Dylan guitarist and now celebrated* producer and songwriter, T-Bone Burnett, Lisa reveals more aspects to her prodigious musical talents, both as a gutsy, emotionally resonant singer and as an expressive and thought provoking songwriter.

Lisa's first two albums were ballsy, hard-edged contemporary ballad rockers filled with often painful lyrics as the singer poured her heart out about trials and tribulations from her life. With her new album, Storm & Grace, LMP offers wonderfully constructed songs reflecting her blues and roots musical heritage. All tracks allow Lisa's rich alto vocal to burn resonantly and maintain the driving bass beat and chamber echo effect which embodied her earlier recordings.

Wesley Britton, in his review of Storm & Grace incisively observed:

But Storm & Grace isn’t just a stripped-down “roots” album, with players simply laying down good grooves behind a singer. Thanks immeasurably to producer T Bone Burnett, the musical settings maintain a unified moody tone throughout the 11 songs. The set is full of subdued echo, haunting guitar lines, and the ambiance of a live session trying to capture both the cerebral and emotional elements in each song. Presley’s lyrics balance both the dark and the hopeful, her painful trials and hard-won triumphs, a few hellos and many goodbyes. In other words, storm and grace.

Storm & Grace opens with Over Me (click for music video), one of several "poppy" tracks on the album. Its neo-swamp rock intro segues into a pulsating vocal and toe tapping infectiousness.

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (the first single from the album - click for music video) continues the pulsating bass beat which characterises many of LMP's recordings (and your toes don't get a rest).

Lisa Marie's smoky vocal smoothly traverses the nooks and crannies of what is another "poppy", albeit quite eerie track which will find a welcome spot on the play lists of many radio stations.

The strength of the singer's voice is well demonstrated as she soars to high places when singing the song title.

The third track, Weary, is sublime and in many ways symbolises Lisa's musical growth. Starting off with an almost country intro this is LMP at her poignant best. The slow, emotional lyrics are delivered with breathy assuredness:

Do you feel your head

I was your prescription

The bottle ran out

So uneasy, lay your head

Can you hear me now...........

Lisa Marie's street cred as a songwriter is further cemented with Soften The Blows:

So there's one thing I need to know, to soften the blows

Never turn your back on the ocean

And never talk back

Don't make those funny faces

Your face could stay that way

So Long ups the beat and tempo with LMP oozing lyrics lamenting "fair weather friends" and reflecting on her reaction to the situation:

Seems I was so wrong

Seems I wasn't that strong

Un-Break partially departs from the lighter tone of the album and arguably is closer to the darker tone of her earlier recordings. Its lyrical sentiment is strong with lines so heartfelt they pierce right to the heart:

I've suffocated in the beds I've been

Close To The Edge is the longest track on the album, coming in at 5' 13". A slow ballad with less of the deep bass cadence obvious in most other tracks, Lisa Marie carries the listener along with her mesmerising vocal.

Storm Of Nails opens with some great toe tapping, guitar twang before settling into a track which goes high and low. Lisa Marie's vocal is reminiscent of Susan Jack's delivery on the very unusual, legendary 1970 track, There's No Blood In Bone, by underrated Canadian group, The Poppy Family.

How Do You Fly This Plane is a title you would expect on a Jimmy Buffett album. The very catchy chorus line: Words I Just Can't Say will linger in your head long after the song finishes.

Sticks and Stones returns the music to the heavier bass beat with LMP's compelling vocal taking the listener far and wide as the song winds through all of the 'sticks and stones' of life:

Why is she doing this, why is she doing this

She never smiles .......

You can take my place, you do it better anyway

Alternate color imagery for Storm & Grace album cover

The (non-deluxe edition of the) album finishes with the title track, Storm & Grace. Vocally, a companion to Storm of Nails, it brings a memorable closure to the album. Its music is strong and its lyrics intriguing:

You are the most beautiful man that I've ever known

........You blow me away

....You're storm and you're grace

A core strength of Storm & Grace is that there is not one track you feel is weaker than the others. The four additional tracks on the deluxe edition of the album are as strong as any of the other 11.

Forgiving is a moving ballad while Heartless could easily have been a song on Belinda Carlisle's iconic album, Runaway Horses. Its mood, delivery and lyrical statement is potent:

I know you're watching too

A whisper in the hallway

Corners of my mind

I hear you whispering

But you can read the signs

I Was Wrong allows Lisa's vocal to wonderfully ebb and flow around lyrics about misguided love. Just A Dream is an exquisitely sung love ballad with Lisa's vocal wafting in almost ethereal fashion.

At times throughout the album it can be difficult to comprehend the words in LMP's vocal. However, Storm & Grace is all about music, and the wonderful balance between Lisa's resonant vocal and masterful backing instrumentation, makes each track an aural delight.

LMP has chosen a seasoned group of musicians to back her on the album. In addition to producer T-Bone Burnett (guitar), the line-up includes guitarists Jackson Smith, Michael Lockwood (Lisa Marie's husband) and Blake Mills, drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Dennis Crouch, and keyboard player Keefus Green. The sound they produce is strong, rootsy and engaging. It exudes a quality you only achieve after countless years of experience, proud professionalism and an ongoing love for one's craft.

Lisa Marie's skill as an evocative songwriter full of anger, pain and love is reinforced on Storm & Grace. Her ability to express her innermost feelings and experiences both poignantly and forcefully continues to make a statement that will impress fans and critics alike.

Interpreting the lyrics on any LMP album is problematic. Lisa Marie is on the record as saying she does not want to reveal the specific drivers behind her songs, preferring to leave it to the listener to form their own view. The songs on Storm & Grace will provide many hours of reflective analysis for keener listeners.

Any review of Storm & Grace would be remiss if it did not mention the stunning album cover. Fully reflecting the quietness (grace) following a storm, it is a moody but serene image with its key protagonist shown off-centre, again symbolising the effects of the contrasting elements in the album title.

Verdict: Storm and Grace offers a different side to Lisa Marie Presley, the singer-songwriter. While maintaining her deep, ballsy vocal traits and an underlying driving bass beat, there is more of the softer side of the artist on display. If you didn't quite get Lisa Marie's earlier albums, give Storm & Grace a spin. The music here is more accessible and just as powerful as the darker tones of her first two albums. Many people will be very pleasantly surprised. All in all a stunning, near 5 star release (Elvis would be very, very proud!)

Track listings:

Deluxe Edition (bonus tracks marked with **):

  1. Over Me
  2. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
  3. Weary
  4. Soften The Blows
  5. So Long
  6. Un-Break
  7. Close To The Edge
  8. Storm Of Nails
  9. How Do You Fly This Plane
  10. Forgiving**
  11. Sticks and Stones
  12. Heartless**
  13. Storm And Grace
  14. I Was Wrong**
  15. Just A Dream**

Non-deluxe Edition:

  1. Over Me
  2. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
  3. Weary
  4. Soften The Blows
  5. So Long
  6. Un-Break
  7. Close To The Edge
  8. Storm Of Nails
  9. How Do You Fly This Plane
  10. Sticks and Stones
  11. Storm And Grace



* T-Bone Burnett has won several Grammy Awards and also an Academy Award for Best Original song, The Weary Kind, featured in the Jeff Bridges film, Crazy Heart. He has produced notable artists including Roy Orbison, Elton John, John Mellencamp and Tony Bennett and k.d. lang.

Storm & Grace is available in CD (deluxe and non-deluxe editions), Vinyl and MP3 download format

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Buy Storm & Grace:


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More about Lisa Marie Presley:


Album Review: To Whom It May Concern


Album Review: Now What

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