By Chuck Arnold Ralph Novak Chris Strauss Amy Elisa Keith
March 20, 2006 12:00 PM

Out of the Ashes

REVIEWED BY RALPH NOVAK

COUNTRY

Although she hasn’t released a country album in 21 years, Waylon Jennings’ widow Jessi Colter has clearly not lost her delicately bluesy touch. She sounds better, less tentative than she did in her “I’m Not Lisa” days during the height of the Willie & Waylon “outlaw” craze. Helmed by the wily pop producer Don Was, with Colter accompanying herself on piano on most tracks, Out of the Ashes relies heavily on the gospel influences that are apparent in the singer’s style. She even sings the church-choir standby “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” as well as “Please Carry Me Home,” a hymn inspired by The Passion of the Christ, which she cowrote with son Shooter Jennings. Her earthier, Bonnie Raittesque new sound comes across best, though, on the bluesy “You Can Pick ‘Em,” while the honky-tonkish “Velvet and Steel” shows that, at 62, she’s still got some kick left in her. Colter’s late husband can be heard on “Out of the Rain,” his previously unreleased vocal embellishing of the Tony Joe White song done in a fresh-sounding way that seems more loving than morbid. But this is Colter’s comeback party, and it is a most welcome homecoming.

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