10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: September 2016

Cody Jinks

Sounds Like: Tattoos, Telecasters and Texas twang, performed by a recovered metalhead who still digs the darker things in life.

For Fans of: Whitey Morgan, Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton

Why You Should Pay Attention: A road warrior since the late Nineties, Jinks logged six years as frontman of the metal group Unchecked Aggression before returning home to Texas, where he rested his shot-to-shit voice and rediscovered a love for outlaw country. More than a decade later, I’m Not the Devil — the latest in a string of solo releases — has turned Jinks into an unlikely Top 10 star, peaking at Number Four on the Billboard Country Chart shortly after its August 2016 release. Full of honky-tonk heartache and barroom ballads, the record also steers Jinks into unusual territory for a country singer, with vampires, devils and apocalyptic imagery all rearing their heads. You can take the country singer out of heavy metal. . .

He Says: “We look like a dirty-ass rock & roll band, but whenever people ask what kind of music we play, I just tell them ‘country.’ I don’t use any other adjectives. That leaves it really open-ended. It leaves room for everyone. I’m one of those guys where one of the best compliments anyone can give me is, ‘I don’t like country music, but I really dig your stuff.’ I just want it to be good music, really. That’s the stuff that resonates.”

Hear for Yourself: On the apologetic “I’m Not the Devil,” Jinks pleads for forgiveness over power-ballad guitars and waltzing percussion. A.L.

Originally published on Rolling Stone.