The Life and Humble Beginnings of Jessi Colter
Born on May 25, 1943, Jessi Colter‘s birth name is Mirriam Johnson. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona in a strict Pentecostal home. Being born to a mother who is a Pentecostal preacher and a father who is a race-car driver, Colter’s childhood was not easy. She became the pianist at her church at the age of 11.
Colter started her music career after graduating from high school wherein she began singing in local pubs in Phoenix. In 1961, she married guitarist Duane Eddy. During that time, she still used her real name, Mirriam Johnson.
Under the Jamie label, she issued two singles. “Lonesome Road” was her first single. However, it received not so good reactions from country music fans and did not make it to any national charts.
In 1968, Colter and Eddy divorced after a seven-year marriage. The following year, she met Waylon Jennings who was also a country music artist. Jennings helped her secure a recording contract with RCA Victor. In the same year, they got married and she adopted her stage name, Jessi Colter, in honor of her great-grandfather, Jesse Colter.
Colter and the “Outlaw Country” Movement
Jessi Colter was among the few female artists who have ventured on the Outlaw Country Movement in the mid-70’s. In 1969, after meeting and marrying Jennings, she pursued a career in country music. She released her first studio album in 1970 called A Country Star Is Born.
Five years later, Colter released her first solo single, “I’m Not Lisa” under the Capitol Records. It placed no.1 on the country charts and no. 5 on the pop charts.
Moreover, she was one of the featured artists on the compilation album Wanted: The Outlaws in 1976. Together with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser, it became an RIAA-certified Platinum album.
After that, more hit albums and singles followed. Two of the most notable singles were “What’s Happened To Blue Eyes“, and “Storms Never Last“, which was a duet with husband Jennings.
Jessi Colter and Her Whereabouts Now?
Well, no one really knows what she’s doing now as she left the limelight and keeps her life private. Despite this, according to some sources, she still occasionally records and performs if she has time.
In 2003, Capitol Records released An Outlaw…a Lady: The Very Best of Jessi Colter, an anthology about Colter. It was then followed by Out of the Ashes in 2006. Over the next two years, Colter and guitarist Lenny Kaye produced improvised melodies for Psalms. For the next ten years, Kaye worked on finishing the album by adding more instrumentation. Eventually, The Psalms was released in March 2017.
Now, at the age of 75, she’s the proud mother of her and Waylon’s son Shooter who is also a country star in his own right.
Watch here Jessi Colter’s first hit single, “I’m Not Lisa”.
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