There are artists so talented, charismatic, sincere that for me it is almost a moral obligation to try to bring to the attention of the audience of Italian friends. Independent artists who make the country their true flag, without contamination, without interference : independent in the true sense of an abused word. In Italy we have a distorted vision for most of what is country, too dazzled by Nashville that pass the TV, radio and even too many local live halls. Cody Jinks is the reference point of the real country, uncompromising outlaw, anti-commercial by definition and for this reason the most loved among the many quality artists that this musical movement has now among its ranks (perhaps because of his success and spiritual guidance). True Texan, born August 18, 1980 in Hantom City, Texas, Cody as a child was influenced by his father’s love for the country of an absolute legend of the genre, Merle Haggard, and just from the music of this artist learned the first guitar chords, but his musical path could not have taken a more different and divergent initial direction. He was born in a place less than half an hour away from where most of the thrash-metal band Pantera were born, which when Jinks was about 16 years old, were already famous in the States (and also in Europe) and the influence was really strong. He decided, he was going to start a heavy metal band and he was going to make it. He and friends founded the band Unchecked Aggression and became active in the Fort Worth area, live circuits that led them to record an LP in 2002 called The Massacre Begins. Cody was the voice (and what voice friends!) and lead guitar but the call within himself for the music with which he grew up and that in Texas is almost a religion, it was too strong we imagine. So much so that the band broke up during a tour in California and for about a year our took a break from the music business until about 2005, when together with his new band The Tone Deaf Hippies decided to come home and began a real journey. They made a name for themselves on the Texas live circuit with lots of live shows, becoming more and more famous as he began recording his own material in 2008. Self-produced his first work, Collectors Item (out of print for years now), a beautiful country classic album very inspired by the sound of Haggard but also Jennings in which you can already feel the strength that will have his ideas and his voice. No compromises, no shortcuts, the story of America’s greatest independent country artist began, There are no masterpieces but the sound oscillated between the honky tonk Texan and the sound anchored to the roots likes a lot and in the same year Jinks gives to the prints already a second effort, Cast No Stones. Here’s the evolution of songwriting is evident, it’s upwards and there are already some songs that make Texas cry we found the heir to the greats!! Just listen to the title track, which will become one of the classics in its fumigants live, a ballad of country dusty and sincere, a jewel along with No Words, a modern and exciting poetry. The stories are true, the voice is warm, powerful, touches the soul but the sound is no less and is evolving more and more and in fact after many concerts, now his name is on the mouth of all the radios of Texas, in 2010 comes out the third effort, Less Wise (which will be remastered and reshaped in 2017 giving it new lifeblood). The album is already a raw jewel of independent country since the first songs and the third track, Hippies & Cowboys is a real masterpiece. An anthem that still accompanies him, a declaration of intent, a ride on the back straight among the sharks of music business that surely if they had taken it would have diluted it in some glossy cover. No, I don’t think so! The hippie with the cowboy hat and the guitar gives us a modern western that to this day I think is one of his most beautiful songs and his career had just begun. The records follow one another and the sound is refined, but the poems he writes as texts of his songs remain, in 2012 he released 30 and the following year the EP Blacksheep. Two country rock records very inspired by the original outlaw but now the sound is his, you recognize and this is his strength. People now know what it sounds and what it offers and in Texas is already a legend without having practically attacked the charts or the radio, an exceptional word of mouth as perhaps today with the social invasion, would be impossible or perhaps even more disruptive who knows.
The appointment with the charts is only postponed, in fact in 2015 he recorded perhaps one of his most beautiful records (for those who write you take away the maybe). He travels to Sonic Ranch Studios in Amarillo, Texas and the Adobe Room, recording Adobe Sessions. It’s a real boom this record that comes in the genre charts of the south to n It 2! A well-deserved success because the album since the first song, What Else Is New, is an explosive concentrate of country outlaw, sharp guitar, irresistible groove and lots of irony in the lyrics that do not take prisoners. The dedication to mom in Mamma Song is funny and sincere, another of the songs that will become classics for his fans who are becoming really many and the music business notices. Intense and with a vocal performance to frame is the dusty Loud and Heavy, wonderful fresco of street song. Live concerts are always loved and Cody Jinks becomes the opener for the tour of another enfant prodigy of the country, Sturgill Simpson. Only a year passed and Cody Jinks, returns to Sonic Ranch and records the record that definitively clears it in the charts of genre and not only, I’m Not The Devil. Another lap, another jewel of country streaked with rock and dust full of simple but beautiful pieces starting from the title track written together with a writer and his friend, Ward Davis, so beautiful and explanatory that will give the title to the record, despite the decision to call it otherwise. It takes up the beautiful No Words, which had already been on the second disc and Jinks also gives a cover of Merle Haggard, The Way I am, a poster that also fits perfectly on him, as Haggard true artist without compromise. The success is dazzling, more than 10,000 copies of the album are sold in the first week alone and the record flies at the top of the country charts. The fuse is now lit and burns fast and Rolling Stone certifies the explosion putting the work among the best of 2016. The tour that follows I’m Not The Devil, is stunning and is together with another outlaw like Whitey Morgan, a legend from Michigan. The music business begins to look for it, but you know he is the King of Independents and if you want you can not force or limit it and the agreement with Rounder Records, appreciated label just for his independent country artists but not only, is perfect for him.
The signing comes and while between 2017 and 2018, Cody Jinks begins to work on his next album, is remastered with the addition of extra track, postponed in print his masterpiece Less Wise (now with the addition of Modified) Thirty Tigers will reprint their old catalogue. By now Cody Jinks is famous even outside the States, true country fans (like myself) learn about this Texan artist party from heavy metal and arrived at outlaw country (I did it as a listener, the same path) and looks forward to his debut with Rounder Records. The wait is not in vain and Lifers is another masterpiece that is added to the list already written until 2018. Here is the review I wrote at the time for Magazzini Inesistenti : http://www.magazzininesistenti.it/cody-jinks-lifers-2018-di-claudio-trezzani/ ). A record with classic absolutes such as Must Be The Whiskey, the hard life that seeks answers in the wrong places, there is the cover of Willie Nelson, Somewhere Between I Love You And I’m Leavin’, a jewel to which Jinks gives a new life, There’s the ballad co-written with Ward Davis, Colorado, which is beautiful and intense and which Davis , given its beauty has also included in his album (also gorgeous) Black Cats and Crows released in this terrible 2020. A record that falls like the previous one at the top of the charts, is now like the Midas King of independent music, every release is a success but this success according to those who know it, its hardest and purest fans, does not change it. He remains a humble and helpful boy, even now that he has reached the status of legend after his concerts he gets closer and above all he is seen in many collaborations with friends-artists. The secret of these great Texas and other country artists, told me an Italian friend who plays the guitar for one of them, is that they all help each other, they have no envy and support each other in every way both live and in the studio. Success does not stop the inspiration, on the contrary! In 2019 an operation that is the most anti-commercial an artist can do : Cody Jinks gives his fans two records (10 pieces and 12 the other) a week from each other. Basically a double divided into two, After The Fire and The Wanting, which already have in the beautiful covers two masterpieces but the interior and the music are no less. The two records marked his departure from Rounder Records, and his debut for Late August Records. The quintessence of musical independence! The album has an avalanche of outlaw country music of quality, from After The Fire to the ballad William and Wanda, intense and exciting, the voice of Jinks is the real seal of quality, a masterful performance. The title track of the second album is another jewel, violin and guitar, latent rhythm and melancholy, plus there is the collaboration with another exceptional artist like Tennessee Jet. (whose new and beautiful record The Country this year, I reviewed in this article for Ticino Notizie and put into by blog here : https://trexroads.altervista.org/the-country-tennessee-jet-2020/ ). Then there’s The Raven and The Dove, written by his friend Casper Mcwade (and he included it in his debut record Unraveled, which I’ve always talked about here for Ticino Notizie and put into my blog here : https://trexroads.altervista.org/unraveled-casper-mcwade-2020/ ), you go from the whipping country rock of Same Kind of Crazy as Me, with a brilliant solo in the middle, to the dusty Texan ballad Whiskey. Ironic, sincere and true lyrics and her voice that when you listen to her corroborates the soul better than a herbal tea. An operation that instead of being the commercial suicide that would suggest logic, is the umpteenth proof that talent, sincerity and determination are things that real fans of quality music, always reward. The charts are there to show that almost no one has ever managed to bring two albums in the lead at the same time, especially released a week later. Chapeau! The live shows follow each other at a high pace leaving behind adoring and satisfied fans until this tremendous year of forced stop that did not discourage Cody Jinks.
First he played live streaming an acoustic version of Adobe Session (of which I was a lucky spectator and now I own it all on CD) and recently he released his Red Rocks Live, amazing double and magnificent live album recorded in the beautiful setting of the Red Rocks arena built at the base of a rocky mountain near Denver in Colorado. An incredible backdrop for 23 songs that leave you speechless for intensity and emotional transport and the present audience notices and becomes part of the operation. A memorable concert that is given especially to those who have not (yet) had the good fortune to attend his legendary live or who could have gone there but was prevented by this horrible situation. A jewel that certainly must be included in the list of the most beautiful records of this 2020. We hope that this forced pause has not affected the inspiration of this bearded Texan, now rose to the status of living legend, from which we expect soon yet another masterpiece to be added to an already consistent collection of magnificent records. If you don’t know it, I recommend starting from Adobe Sessions or why not from the latest arrival, from Red Rocks Live that contains all its fighting horses played with an intensity that will make you fall in love. Lovers of real country and quality music do not wait and join the group of those who like me, love the greatest of independent artists. Long live Cody Jinks!
p.s. here are my 5 favorite songs recommended to start to find out (hard choice) :
- Hippies and Cowboys
- I’m Not The Devil
- Loud and Heavy
- Must Be The Whiskey
- Cast No Stones
(you can find original italian article in the blog at this link : https://trexroads.altervista.org/cody-jinks-viaggio-texano-dallheavy-metal-alloutlaw-country )