Song Review – Cody Jinks’ “I’m Not the Devil”

In 2015 a great crop of fresh faces in country and Americana arose on many people’s radars. Hands down one of the best artists to emerge amongst this group was Cody Jinks. While it was his fourth album, Jinks’ 2015 album Adobe Sessions felt like the awaited breaking out of the next big star in the independent country scene. The album is full of traditional country, plenty of steel guitar and ballads on life and love. It was released in January, which worried me that people would overlook it and forget about it as the year progressed. That definitely wasn’t an issue, as you the readers reminded me throughout the year how much you enjoyed the album. So now Jinks is prepared to release the follow-up album on August 12, titled I’m Not the Devil. The album title track was just released though and it picks up right where Adobe Sessions left off.

A few sobering guitar licks play in the song as Jinks utters off the first line, “I’m not the devil you think that I am.” It’s a dark song where Jinks sings of a man who is ruminating over the mistakes he’s made in his life and a loved one he has hurt with his actions. He argues he’s not the devil and that he’s just a man who’s made mistakes, although he says that’s no excuse. He vows that he will change and try to make amends. I imagine once we hear the entire album this song will sound even better, but just alone it shows the kind of emotion behind Jinks’ music. Jinks wrote the song with fellow traditional country artist Ward Davis, as he told Rolling Stone in an interview:

“The album was pretty much done. The album title had been decided. On a hunch, I flew my buddy Ward Davis out to the studio to take a stab at writing together. A few hours after he arrived and an incredible amount of beer consumed, we were recording ‘I’m Not the Devil’ and in turn renaming the album.”

This song along with the rest of the album was recorded at Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas. If that name “Sonic Ranch” rings a bell, that’s because this is where Jinks’ buddy and touring mate Whitey Morgan recorded his 2015 album of the same name. That album of course was one of the year’s best. If I’m Not the Devil is as great as that album, then I for one am excited to hear it. “I’m Not the Devil” is an example of why so many independent country fans are flocking to Jinks. The instrumentation and production are arranged very well and complements the lyrics perfectly. It’s the perfect teaser to get people excited. There are a lot of traditional country artists this year experimenting and drifting from the traditional sound (which hasn’t been entirely bad). Cody Jinks on the other hand is sticking to the genre’s roots and making fantastic, pure country music.

(Also that cover art is amazing!)

Grade: 9/10

Originall published by Country Perspective.