TIME TO DECLARE LISA MARIE PRESLEY HER OWN WOMAN
The ticket was free, the company was fun, the venue was a personal favorite so there was little to lose seeing Elvis' baby girl in concert. But after walking in apathetic, I watched the petite forty-five-year-old brunette give an intimate, emotional seventy-five minute performance that turned me into an enthusiastic fan.
Eighteen months ago, May, 2012, Lisa Marie Presley released her third studio album but first in seven years, Storm & Grace. She wrote all of the lyrics and wants to refocus her career as an alt-country artist. The lineup of talent who co-wrote and played on it is impressive; Richard Hawley (from Pulp), Ed Harcourt, Sacha Skarbek, Fran Healy (from Travis), and Steve Booker . Grammy winner and borderline Rock and Roll Hall of Famer T-Bone Burnett produced and his rootsey country rock folk fingerprints are all over Lisa Marie's sound.
Lisa Marie is on a small club tour with a five-piece band that includes her husband, Michael Lockwood. Shaking a bedazzled tambourine during most songs, thumping a standup bass drum during two others and curling a microphone in her tiny hands Lisa Marie's cozy set matched her surrounding of a 150-person Eddie's Attic. It was the second of a two show gig and some of the hardcore fans stuck around well-oiled and their bawdy antics interrupted her several times. She flashed the old pro style learned from decades in the public eye.
I've always wondered what it would be like to be the offspring of someone so famous you'd never outrun their legacy or escape their shadow. Lisa Marie Presley is on her fourth husband, one of which was as famous as her father, given birth to four children, dabbled in Scientology, stopped and started her music career three times and finally accepted her place in the Presley business hierarchy. It seems to have shaped her into a viable performer. There were many high points including her playing Lights Out, her only "hit" from 2003.
The best moment of the concert came when she introduced the song Soften The Blows. It's a deep, painful ballad about being a grown up; a prayer really, asking God to take it easy on her during the hard times. She didn't cry but she came close. Her husky, lived in voice was a perfect vehicle. It was better than any interview I'd ever seen with Oprah or Entertainment tonight and thus legitimized her as a singer-songwriter. She let me, and the other 149 people see her heart for five minutes. That's what real artists do.
A waitress ran by me with tray of jagermeister shots and made her way to the stage. For the closing number, the six entertainers tossed back their booze and Lisa Marie announced how much they loved playing Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' I Need To Know. Then, they ripped into a rowdy, fun, loud cover that put the crowd on its feet and then she said goodnight.
I walked out a Lisa Marie Presley fan, ready to download Storm & Grace, and realized that the King's Princess was very much her own woman.