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Jessi Colter

Out of the Ashes – 2006 (Shout! Factory)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Jessi Colter

Just when you thought you could close the book on Jessi Colter - widow of Waylon Jennings, mother of Shooter, never really lived up to the potential she exhibited on the legendary "Wanted: The Outlaws" album, probably best known for the pop hit "I'm Not Lisa" - she releases her first CD in 20 years and gives every indication of emulating the mythical phoenix she evokes in the title.

Super producer (and guest bassist) Don Was wisely keeps the arrangements spare, so the attention stays on Colter's voice. And what a voice it is - whiskey-tinged yet ethereal, and as versatile as it is unique, equally adept at gospel ("His Eye is on the Sparrow"; "Please Carry Me Home") and blues ("You Can Pick 'Em) as she is on lovelorn laments ("Never Got Over You") and unexpected covers (Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35"). Colter doesn't need any help, but hearing Tony Joe White and Waylon Jennings pitch in on "Out of the Rain" is worth the price of admission by itself.

So don't shut that book yet. This chapter might be the best one yet.