Renowned songwriter, singer, and wife of Waylon Jennings writes an intimate, enormously entertaining memoir of American music, of life with Waylon and the Outlaws, and of faith lost and found.
The daughter of a Pentecostal evangelist and a race-car driver, Jessi Colter played piano and sang in church before leaving Arizona to tour with rock-n-roll pioneer Duane Eddy, whom she married. Colter became a successful recording artist, appearing on American Bandstand and befriending stars such as the Everly Brothers and Chet Atkins, while her songs were recorded by Nancy Sinatra, Dottie West, and others. Her marriage to Eddy didn’t last, however, and in 1969 she married the electrifying Waylon Jennings. Together, they made their home in Nashville which in the 1970s, was ground zero for roots music, drawing Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein, and others to the Nashville Sound. And Jessi was at the center of it all, the only woman on the landmark Wanted: The Outlaws album, the record that launched the Outlaw Country genre and was the first country album to go platinum. She also tasted personal commercial success with the #1-single “I’m Not Lisa.”
But offstage, life was a challenge, as Waylon pursued his addictions and battled his demons. Having drifted from the church as a young woman, Jessi returned to her faith and found in it a source of strength in the turmoil of living with Waylon. In the 1980s, Waylon helped launch the super group The Highwaymen with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, and the hits kept rolling, as did Waylon’s reckless living. Amid it all, Jessi faithfully prayed for her husband until finally, at Thanksgiving 2001, Waylon found Jesus, just months before he died.
An Outlaw and a Lady is a powerful story of American music, of love in the midst of heartache, and of faith that sustains.
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About the Author:
Jessi Colter is one of America’s most beloved singer-songwriters. Her storied career began in the sixties when, encouraged by her first husband, guitar legend Duane Eddy, she composed hit songs for Dottie West, Nancy Sinatra, and Hank Locklin. Best known for her collaboration with her husband, Waylon Jennings, and for her 1975 country-pop crossover hit “I’m Not Lisa,” she was the only woman featured on the landmark album Wanted: The Outlaws that forever changed American music. She has fifteen major-label albums to her credit, and her songs and records have sold in the tens of millions. She lives near Scottsdale, Arizona.
I have been a fan of your music all my life. Raised on Country Music, there was never a time when my Mom didn't have the radio on. We went to a campground where you and Waylon performed many summers through my childhood. My father was a over the road trucker, he had all the greats on 8-track tapes!!! My father was a lot like Waylon, he was my Moms problem. But like you, she never let on. He was the love of her life and in loving him, she gave him, his best life until the end. He was a wonderful father. He passed on, when he took God's hand in 2013. Like you wrote, my Mom also had to have great patience. Your story so touched my heart. I'm glad that you are living in the glory of God. To any fan of the Outlaw Country Music. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!!!
-Sue Allen Milkovich
I put religion aside but truly admire her faith. Waylon was my favorite singer and still is to some extent. Like him I opened myself to other kinds of music. The members of The Highwaymen will always be my favorites. I loved the stories and they were expanded upon by Jessie. I was happy to get to know her as I had always found her to be both beautiful and an angelic voice. I opened up to Shooter's music as well as Lukas Nelson's and others. I was sadden at end of Waylon's life but happy he had Jessie and Shooter. He also had a multitude of friends non closer then the Highwaymen. Through that I reminded of my friendship and value it even more.
-Daniel W. Hahn