When Lisa Marie Presley began writing music again after a seven-year layoff, she wasn’t sure where it would lead.
“There was no agenda,” Elvis Presley’s only child said. “I was given the freedom and space to find myself again, to start again and get a fresh perspective. I didn’t know what was going to come of it. I was half expecting nothing was going to happen.”
Her manager, Simon Fuller, was a little more focused. He was hoping the 44-year-old singer, songwriter and lyricist, who’s enjoyed an eclectic career and moves easily between folk, blues and country, would write enough material to create what would become her third studio album.
Without her knowledge, Fuller sent some of the songs to T. Bone Burnett seeking some input from the Grammy Award-winning producer. Burnett knew his client would be freaked out and become a nervous wreck waiting for Burnett’s assessment of the new material.
Burnett liked what he heard so much he summoned Presley to his Los Angeles home and said he wanted to work with her on what would become her third album, Storm & Grace. The album, released in May, has been described as a country-pop “moody masterpiece” that explores the demons and angels in her life.
Once she was ready to go into the studio, Burnett’s idea was to pair Presley with a variety of different writers and musicians to help her craft her new sound. Collaborators included songwriter and guitarist Richard Hawley of the band Pulp, Fran Healey from the band Travis and songwriter Ed Harcourt.
The writing process sounded fairly simply. Presley said she wasn’t influenced by any outside musical influences.
“Honestly, at the time, I was not listening to any music at all,” Presley told Spinner magazine in May. “What happened with these songs was I would sit with the co-writer and we’d lock in on a melody and a format, and then they’d basically leave me in a room five to six hours. Then they come back in and wonder what’s come out of it, out of all that.”
All told, Presley and her writers created more than two dozen songs over a two-year period. Then she turned them over to Burnett hoping he could work the same magic on her album that he’s applied to a broad swath of artists ranging from Roy Orbison, Elton John, Tony Bennett and k.d. lang to John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.
“He has an orbit of musicians that he loves and rearranges them accordingly with what he’s recording,” said Presley, who performs Saturday, Nov. 10, in the Xanadu at Trump Taj Mahal. “I had the utmost respect with everything he wanted to do. He already had his ideas. I wasn’t going to interject mine. I never would have gotten in his way. And they were all so incredible you couldn’t argue.”
Legends in Concert has been a mainstay in Las Vegas and Atlantic City for decades. One of the prominent reasons for its continued success is the show’s constant search for talented new performers. Over at Bally’s Legend in Concert Theater, the show just refreshed itself with a new cast May 25 and it represents a diverse spectrum of the music industry.
I’d always meant to check out the Ultimate Elvis preliminary contest that has taken place in Atlantic City the last few years. This year not only did I attend the event, I was asked to be a judge for the contest, sponsored by On Stage Touring, the Legends in Concert production company officially licensed by Elvis Presley Enterprises to do the contest.
Atlantic City, which hosted its first Legends show in 1985 at Bally’s (a long run ended in Oct. 31, 2005), plus return stops at Resorts and the Hilton, is back in town at Bally’s Palace Theater with a run through Sept. 4.
The 68-year-old Prior was more than a local star in the southern New Jersey area, especially in the family resort of Ocean City, Cape May County, where he was a constant on the scene for his Elvis Presley-inspired performances at the beach town resort's many special events.
Elvis Presley can still influence thousands, even hundreds of thousands, to actually become him — if only for a few minutes on stage. Elvis impersonators (though they prefer the term “tribute artists”) are so common, they‘ve become as much a part of American culture as the King himself.
It would be easy for Lionel Richie to sit on his laurels. The singer-songwriter-producer has sold more than 100 million albums. That’s a staggering amount, which places Richie in the upper echelon of pop music along with such legendary figures as Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Michael Jackson.
Where: Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, 1000 Boardwalk at Virginia Ave. Phone: 441-0007 Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11am-midnight; Fri.-Sat. 11am-1am Details: The Hard Rock will celebrate 13 years in A.C. in November. It has an extensive menu of reasonably priced American fare and several signature cocktails listed under the headings “Heavy Metal” (such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Punch, the Purple Haze or the Lovely Rita) and “Hip Hop” (Pickled Tink, Hpnotiq Tea, Reggae Breeze). It has an outdoor patio for al fresco dining while the weather stays warm, and often hosts live music — including every Thursday night in October. It features a large, guitar-shaped bar and authentic rock memorabilia on its walls, such as a pair of Michael Jackson’s shoes, Stevie Nicks’ boots, an Elvis Presley bathrobe, a Jimi Hendrix guitar, and dozens of posters from classic concerts. Many of the museum-quality rock artifacts will alternate between other Hard Rock sites, of which there are now more than 140 worldwide. The original Hard Rock was founded in London by two Americans in 1971,...