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LMP’s rustic new life

Written by Tom Lanham | SF Examiner.

lisa marie presley england 1 copyThe experience may not rival that of a Disney princess being dressed every morning by fluttery cartoon animals, says Lisa Marie Presley. But residing in the English countryside in a little thatched-roof cottage she purchased two years ago comes pretty "Snow White" close.

"It is so much like a fairy tale that it blows your mind," says the singer, 44, who wound up relaunching her career from Britain with the folksy new T Bone Burnett-produced comeback "Storm & Grace."

"Every time you look out the window, it's like a painting — there's a lake, sheep all over the place. There were even reindeer last year, giant reindeer out in our field, and I have no idea how they got in."

Now the Memphis-born daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, who plays The City on Sunday, is gradually becoming Beatrix Potter. She oversees three gardens on her property, plus an orchard of apple trees, and any harvest overflow gets cheerfully donated to the local pub.

"We grow everything from carrots to radishes and potatoes, which just taste incredible there, for some reason," she says. "And there are garden centers everywhere, with all kinds of cool things you can buy, so I've just gotten really into it."

Presley has lived an over-sensationalized life that includes marriages to Nicolas Cage and the late Michael Jackson, plus two high-pressure pop-rock forays, 2003's "To Whom it May Concern" and 2005's "Now What," where she hid behind a wall of sound.

Sick of shallow showbiz, and wanting a simpler musical approach, she first retreated to Britain to compose. Aided by her friend Simon Fuller — now her manager — she sat down with U.K. pros such as Sacha Skarbek, Ed Harcourt and Pulp's Richard Hawley, whose first skeletal co-write, "Weary," opened the floodgates for 28 new tracks in eight months before Burnett took the reins. By then she and her husband, Michael Lockwood, had started house-hunting.

Presley, whose smoky vocals are now up front in the mix, won't go into detail about her decidedly Southern Gothic lyrics in "Un-Break," "Storm of Nails" and "Sticks and Stones."

"I'm always exorcising demons, but I'm trying to make it universal," she says.

This rock royalty regularly visits America, overseeing her various charities, or her new Graceland exhibit "Elvis ... Through His Daughter's Eyes."

But she treasures England, and its cultural curiosities. When one of her sheep was viciously attacked, she says, "I was told that it was a gypsy dog, a gypsy whippet, and that there was an actual gypsy camp nearby. That's when I thought, 'Wow! We are in another place!' Before that, I'd only heard about gypsies in 'Borat!'"

IF YOU GO

Lisa Marie Presley
Where: Slim's, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $22
Contact: (415) 522-0333; www.slimstickets.com

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