REVIEW: Cody Jinks – ‘I’m Not The Devil’

Jinks states that he started making country records about 10 years ago. Before that he was a guitar player in a thrash band called Unchecked Aggression. They won’t appear in any genre’s hall of fame. Nothing remains commercially, and that chapter of Jink’s musical career is well and truly over.

Fortunately for us he chose to make country records and anyone who has heard his early 2015 ‘Adobe Sessions’ album will vouch for the fact that he makes very good country records.

The story goes that Chris Stapleton was inspired when making ‘Traveler’ by working with Cody Jinks.

Jinks is a Fort Worth, Texas-raised country singer who has honed his craft on the road. The road may well be leading to the fame and fortune enjoyed by Stapleton if this album gets the exposure it deserves. Sometimes reviews are very easy to write. It would suffice if we simply said that this is an album that country music fans should embrace.

Jinks is a relatively late convert to country music. He is in his late 30’s but appears to be intent upon ploughing his own furrow. He has resisted the influence of a major label and relies upon his own team of managers and promotors who have helped him gradually ramp up the vibe by continually touring and appearing at mid-sized venues in predominately mid-western cities. No overnight success. Jinks has paid his dues.

Cody Jinks is not a hard act to sell. He looks and sounds like a traditional country singer. Stapleton broke the ice although the door is not yet fully open.

There won’t be any syndicated country radio stations that include Jinks on any of their playlists but that has always been the case and won’t affect anything.

He returned to Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo Texas to record this album. He has admitted that he is out of his comfort zone in a studio and preferred the familiar environment that created ‘Adobe Sessions’.

The majority of the 13 tracks were written by Jinks but a standout is the cover of Merle Haggard’s ‘The Way I Am’. Many will argue that this is on par with the original.

The rock influences that occasionally appeared in his last album don’t re-appear here. If we were asked to choose an album that defines what traditional country music sounds like, we would have no hesitation in selecting this one.

It is an album that draws you in from the opening fiddle and slide guitar introduction in ‘The Same’. A song that deals with a post-relationship reunion – “I don’t know why you ask but I’m still the same”.

The majority of the 13 tracks on offer are very much in the mid-tempo range.

Only ‘Chase That Song’ could be described as honky tonk song but a very enjoyable honky tonk.

There isn’t a subject that country music hasn’t featured before. However, there is a quality to Jinks’ song writing that takes the listener to a level that is rarely heard.

An album of this consistent quality doesn’t merit a selection of stand-outs but we must highlight the title track that Jinks co-wrote with Ward Davis. ‘I’m Not The Devil’ was a song that they created in the studio and was written in a hour. On rare occasions spontaneity produces potential classics. We may have one here.

It remains to be seen if the world of country music embraces Cody Jinks with quite the same vigour as was reserved for Stapleton. We doubt if he will be graced with a slot on this year’s CMA awards.

However, this is a guy that has literally worked his butt off to present his brand of music and build up a cult following based upon his awesome live shows. He has now backed this up with two albums that deserve to be included in a list of the very best that is currently on offer. We didn’t think that he could beat ‘Adobe Sessions’. We can confirm that he has.

There is no better quote than a fan’s recent entry on Jinks’ Facebook page – “Cody Jinks comes on my shuffle…my dad says “who is this guy? I kinda like him. Sounds like music from when it was still good”.

Originally published on YourLifeInASong.com.