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Jessi Colter Finds Her Way 'Out of the Ashes'

Out of the Ashes is Jessi Colter's new CD. It has been 20 years since her last one. In the intervening time she toured with husband Waylon Jennings and helped him as he struggled with substance abuse and diabetes until his death in 2002.

Once upon a time, Colter had an active solo career. Her first husband, guitarist Duane Eddy, produced her debut single in 1961. Colter and Eddy divorced in the late 1960s and she met Waylon Jennings back home in Phoenix.

In 1975, she had another hit with the tune "I'm Not Lisa."

Born Miriam Johnson, she took her stage name from a train-robbing ancestor, Jess Colter. Her greatest claim to fame was as part of the "outlaw" country music movement in the 1970s with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Tompall Glaser. Their record Wanted! The Outlaws became the first country album certified platinum, selling 1 million copies.

Colter's new CD features one song with her son -- Shooter Jennings -- and another with Tony Joe White and Waylon Jennings himself. She tells Don Gonyea what made her want to return to a solo recording career.

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You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.