Lisa Marie Presley
With all the hoopla that has surrounded her, it's easy to forget that Lisa Marie Presley is at heart a simple Southern girl whose earliest musical memories are of obsessively listening to 45's in her bedroom at Graceland and of her dad catching her singing into a hairbrush in front of a mirror at the age of three.
The Memphis-born Presley reclaims those roots on her new album Storm & Grace — an Americana-inspired showcase for her songwriting talent and smoldering alto voice. Produced with elegant restraint by 12-time Grammy Award-winner T Bone Burnett, Storm & Grace is a marked departure from Presley's previous albums, 2003's gold-certified To Whom It May Concern and 2005's Now What, which both debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard's Top 200 chart, "I love the songs, but I think I was hiding behind a lot of sonic layers because it was scary to go out there," Presley says. "It's easier to bury yourself in the noise so you don't stand out. This album is a lot more stripped-down and naked, both musically and lyrically."
The album's rootsy golden tone is set immediately with the opening track "Over Me," with its echoey guitar line, burping bassline, shuffling backbeat, and lyrics that lament a lover who's replaced her, while the ominous, swampy lead single "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" and the pedal-steel and mandolin-driven title track sound like they could have been recorded during an impromptu back-porch jam session.
Presley's previous albums did, however, enable her to work through the rebelliousness she was feeling when she launched her career as a singer-songwriter in 2003. "I was angry at all that I was potentially up against — all the expectations — and I was puffing myself up as a protective mechanism," she says. "At the same time, I was being pushed by the team around me to be a pop star, and to do all these crazy things that I really didn't want to do."
After completing a well-received tour to support Now What, Presley retreated from the music industry, relocating to the English countryside with her husband and young twin daughters and shedding the people and things she felt had demoralized her. "I got rid of a lot of the toxicity around me, but I also lost a lot of my drive and love for songwriting," she says. "The creativity was kind of wrung out of me."
Not wanting to abandon her craft, and after gentle prodding from her new manager Simon Fuller, Presley agreed, in the summer of 2009, to sit down with some new songwriting collaborators, who included three Brits: Sacha Skarbek (who's written with Adele and Jason Mraz among others), and singer-songwriters Ed Harcourt and Richard Hawley, who is also a member of Pulp. "There was no agenda," she says. "I wasn't trying to write a hit or to please any particular audience. I was just enjoying the process of being creative with great people who really love music." The first song to emerge was a gentle ballad called "Weary," which Presley wrote with Hawley. "That one turned the tide and sparked the whole sound of the record," she says. Over an eight-month period, Presley wrote 28 songs including "Storm and Grace" and "How Do You Fly This Plane?" with Hawley; "Un-Break" and "Close To The Edge" with Skarbek; and "Soften The Blows" and "Over Me" with Harcourt.
Lisa-2012-lisa-marie-presley-30374934-385-580Taken as a whole, Storm & Grace is a unflinchingly honest piece of work from this songwriter, who, though known for her tough frankness, has managed to create a tender, consoling thread that runs throughout the album. "Weary" may concern a relationship that didn't work out, but it is suffused with a genuine warmth, as Presley sings: "I will always love you/you can move on, dear."
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."
Impressed with Presley's songs, Fuller sent the demos to producer and musician T Bone Burnett, who is known for his work with such artists as Allison Krauss and Robert Plant, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Elton John and Leon Russell, and scores of others. "I got a call that T Bone really liked them and wanted to meet with me," Presley says. "When I saw him, he said, 'I don't want to do a big song and dance. I really like the record and I'd love to produce it.'"
"When Lisa Marie's songs arrived, I was curious," Burnett says. "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 of her. The more I listened to the songs, the deeper an artist I found her to be. Listening beyond the media static, Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American folk music artist of great value."
"It makes me feel really good to hear him say that because I know he means it," Presley says. "His enthusiasm and support gave me a lot of confidence. His even doing this project and bringing in his musicians [who include drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Dennis Crouch, guitarists Jackson Smith and Michael Lockwood, and keyboardists Keefus Green and Patrick Warren] injected me with new life. They were all outstanding."
storm grace cover 360Presley is also glad to have a new label home, Universal Republic, which will release Storm & Grace on May 15th. "I have a new team around me, and none of the things that brought me down before," she says, adding that although she is nervous about how Storm and Grace will be received, the joy of knowing that she's connecting with an audience makes it all worth it.
"I'm compelled to do this because I'm a music lover and I feel that music is so important in the world. That's what drives me — pouring your heart and soul into something and hoping that it can change someone's life in some way. I'm looking forward to performing live and interacting with people who are there for the music and nothing else. Getting that instant reaction is the best part."
Popular Indie artist Dave Tieff gained notoriety in the late 90’s as the front man of the alternative band Laughing Colors, based in Baltimore, Maryland. Laughing Colors sold over 100,000 units of their albums independently, and the band shared the stage with renowned alternative and rock bands like Live and Stone Temple Pilots during national tours that created a large and loyal fan base. The band played popular venues across the country and was regularly featured on Mid-Atlantic radio stations such as 98 Rock in Baltimore and WYSP in Philadelphia. The band recorded with multi-platinum songwriter and producer Mitch Allan, and also with the legendary Eddie Kramer, who is best known for recording mega artists like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
Although Tieff found great independent music success in the late 90’s, he battled with drug and alcohol addiction for years, came close to dying, and ultimately ended up in rehab. By the mid 2000’s, Tieff decided to take a hiatus from writing and performing, and instead focused on becoming clean and sober for good. Top Indie Artists 2012
After years away from music, Tieff returned with a new passion and began channeling his energy into songwriting, new music, and telling the story of how he overcame addiction and a near death experience. In 2010, he began performing and speaking at colleges, which led to a 2010 cross-country college tour for Amnesty International. His passion for music, songwriting and speaking are evident in Tieff’s incredible delivery whether it is on a stage, in a song or during a speaking engagement. G. Anthony Joseph, an actor, producer and President of Los Angeles- based Tritan-Northstar Entertainment says, “from Trinidad to the Caribbean, everywhere I put on Dave's music people just fall in love with it.” Joseph has included Tieff’s songs in many of his films.
In 2011 Tieff signed with indie music label KETS Records, and recorded A Trip Into The Sun, a five song EP produced and co-written by Grammy-nominated Kevin Kadish and Mitch Allan. “Time To Fly” the feel-good single from A Trip Into The Sun was co-written by Allan who says, "I've been working with Dave for many years now and I can honestly say that this is his best material to date, especially "Time To Fly". It comes from such an honest place, that I believe everyone can relate too it no matter where they are in their lives. I'm very proud to be a part of this song." The more alternative track “Chuck Norris” was written by Tieff and Kadish, and is a fun, rock-and-roll track with catchy lyrics and instrumentation. Kadish, also a Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer says, “Dave Tieff's 'Chuck Norris' is possibly the most fun I've had writing and recording a track in my career... I think you'll have as much fun listening as we did creating it."
Recently named one of What’s Up Magazine’s “People To Watch,” Tieff continues inspiring, creating and sharing music with a unique and positive message. What sets him apart is his goal to have a personal connection with every one of his fans. Whether it is staying after a show to talk to fans, or personally signing each album sold, Tieff enjoys getting to know people on a personal level, even going so far as to provide his personal email and phone number to fans. Tieff was once quoted saying, “It’s an awesome part of my job to meet and thank as many people as I can. Without them I wouldn’t be able to make music…and I might not even be alive.”
Perhaps Paul Manna, owner and concert promoter at 24-7 Entertainment puts it best in saying, "I've been booking Dave since his days with Laughing Colors. He's a born entertainer and his natural talent is evident to anyone who sees him perform live. It doesn't matter if there's a crowd of 1000 or 100, the audience always feels a connection to Dave. He's extremely professional, hardworking and passionate about his career and I look forward to every show we book together.”
As part of his “plan to meet everyone who listens to his music,” Dave has scheduled an intimate House Concert tour to kickoff the release of his new album.
He and his band will play larger venues as well, but he remains true to his goal, and will stay after each show to meet and talk to as many fans as possible, no matter how small or large the venue.