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 Presley plays Millvale

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PostSubject: Presley plays Millvale   Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:46 am

MILLVALE — Lisa Marie Presley has found her voice.
It’s countrified and bluesy, mining elements from roots-rock and Southern folk.
The catch-all term might be Americana.

She’s not trying to duplicate her legendary father, though the 44-year-old lone child of Elvis Presley acknowledges she’s carrying on a family legacy with her first album in seven years.

“I feel re-ignited,” Presley said in a phone interview publicizing her Nov. 13 show at Mr. Small’s Theatre in Millvale — stop No. 6 of a nine-city tour that ends at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall.

“I’m excited. I love touring,” said Presley, who previously played Pittsburgh in 2003, opening a Station Square amphitheater show for Chris Isaak. “Writing songs for a record and touring are my favorite things. I have more of a stripped-down album this time, so I’m playing a lot more intimate venues, but I’m more comfortable in that setting.”
Released in May, her “Storm and Grace” has earned glowing reviews.

“The album she was born to make,” says Rolling Stone. “A moody masterpiece,” adds Spinner.com.
AOL ranks it among the year’s top-10 Americana albums.

On the single “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” Presley sings with sultry assurance over a swampy, jangly, Creedence Clearwater Revival-sounding guitar line.
On her first two albums, Presley tried coming across as a pop star with rocker chick attitude, a la Pink. The results sounded forced.
Dipping into older, more organic influences this time has yielded material that suits her much better.

“I think that was a really natural occurrence,” Presley said. “I went to England to write, and I guess I found enough head-clearance space to embrace whatever was coming out of me, the sounds I grew up listening to; country music, and blues and rock. It’s all there.”

Relocating to England with her family — including music producer husband Michael Lockwood, and their 4-year-old twin girls, Finley and Harper — Presley began writing songs with artists from hip U.K. bands such as Pulp and Travis. She didn’t write for any specific radio format.

“It freed me up, really for the first time, to honestly find out who I was as an artist and a songwriter,” Presley said.
Without her knowing, her rough-draft songs were slipped into the hands of T-Bone Burnett, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning producer.
Burnett would later say, “I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say... what I heard was honest, raw, unaffected and soulful. I thought her father would be proud.”

He contacted Presley to schedule a face-to-face meeting to see if he could produce her next album.

Presley was shocked.
“I can’t tell you how rung out and just tired I was until he heard my songs and said he wanted to meet me to discuss recording them,” Presley said. “He really gave me some sort of lift as an artist. Because believe me, he’d never record something for the sake of pop sensationalism, or because it was trendy; he’d only do it artistically.”

Burnett gave Presley the freedom to sing however she chose.
Presley knew she needed to shed her pop-rock image, which never felt comfortable.
“I’m not saying I didn’t like the songs I wrote for those first albums, but you can tell I was hiding behind a lot of production,” Presley said.

“I just think I was trying to go against what was expected of me. I have this horrible rebellion in me, purposely trying to not be what people expect; to make my own footprint,” she said. “Coming out of the gate, I didn’t want to sound in any way like my father. Because it was my first time, I wanted to prove to people I’m not my dad; yes, I am his daughter, but I’m my own person. I tried to find my own path, but it was a little bit forced.”

The seven-year break between albums found Presley shedding unwanted situations, and adding the twins to her brood (she has a 19-year-old son, Benjamin, and 23-year-old daughter, Riley, to her first of four husbands, Danny Keough).
As with many artists who’ve reached their mid-40s, she feels wiser and more at peace.
“You’re more relaxed,” Presley said. “When I was younger there was more fights and finding my own way. Born into what I was, I had to grow up in front of everyone, but this is another chapter in my life.”

Any chapter of her life will involve people citing footnotes to her father, and she’s fine with that.
On Oct. 15, she released a new video, “I Love You Because,” an emotional “duet” with her dad. Burnett had suggested that relatively obscure song, which Elvis cut at Sun Studio in Memphis in 1954. Lisa Marie had done a similar duet in 2007, singing along with her dad on his hit single “In the Ghetto.”

“Every five years I do a tribute like that; something special for fans,” Lisa Marie said.
This new duet was trickier.
“I don’t know if it was the time period or not, but finding the harmony was really hard,” Lisa Marie said. “Thankfully, T-Bone helped.”
Lisa Marie came up with the idea of adding photos of Elvis’ grandchildren to the video.
“That just felt right,” she said.

Just like it feels right for her to be making music rooted in the Americana genre that Elvis helped pioneer. Does she feel she’s carrying on her father’s legacy?
“I do... I do. That’s the simple answer,” Lisa Marie said, letting a few seconds of silence pass to denote that answer would be sufficient.
She’s learned to be brief and guarded in interviews, befitting someone whose life has been lived under a microscope.

Though the daughter of “The King” and former wife of Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage was polite, forthcoming and optimistic in her appointed 15-minute phone chat.
She said her Mr. Small’s show will emphasize “Storm and Grace” songs, but she’ll do at least one cover, and a few transformed songs from her earlier albums that have been requested by fans on Facebook and Twitter.

She’ll banter with her Millvale crowd, though she doesn’t know to what extent.
“I have to work it out every night,” she said. “I find I really have to win over an audience each night, and that keeps me motivated. They all have different energy; sometimes I need to use more dialogue, but I never know until I get out there. That makes it a challenge for me, which is fun. That’s why I love doing it.”


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