The best Cody Jinks songs have consistently proven that in the digital age, equal doses of talent and drive can propel country artists lacking big-label backing or commercial airplay.
Jinks first emerged as lead singer of Fort Worth, Texas-based heavy metal band Unchecked Aggression. Around 2005, he dove headfirst into country music with his band the Tone Deaf Hippies. Self-released albums followed beginning in 2006, with the sound that gains Jinks comparisons to elite singer-songwriters in full bloom by the 2013 EP Blacksheep.
Ten years into his run as a country recording artist, Jinks cracked the Top 10 of Billboard's Top Country Albums and Independent Albums chart for the first time with I'm Not the Devil: an LP that's sold over 67,000 copies.
Jinks remained prolific after I'm Not the Devil opened new ears to his gritty, lived-in country song, culminating so far with Late August Records' simultaneous 2021 release of solo album Mercy and a full-length by Caned By Nod, a metal band featuring Jinks on lead vocals, titled None the Wiser.
Read on for Wide Open Country's 10 favorite songs from a discography with few duds.
10. "Ain't a Train"
The fieriest fiddle solo in a rocking country song since the heyday of the Charlie Daniels Band sneaks this one past other potential playlist openers. It's the high point of After the Fire: one of two albums released by Jinks in as many weeks in 2018 (with the other being The Wanting).
9. "Fast Hand"
If any modern song by any of the usual suspects deserves the often bandied-about label "outlaw country," it's this arresting story about a quick-drawing criminal who's truly living outside the law.
8. "Same Kind of Crazy as Me"
The Wanting brought us two things: the most awesome and t-shirt-ready album cover since thrash metal's commercial heyday and one of Jinks' best character studies
7. "We Get By"
You'll feel like you've known the narrator's whole family for years just minutes into this vividly-told story about regular, God-fearing folks from the 2012 album 30.
6. "Mamma Song"
Though it comes out of the gate strong and never relents as an example of hard-hitting Texas country, "Mama Song" is, as its name telegraphs, one of the most tender selections. It's a "Mama Tried"-style admission of past failures and sustained love for the mother that never stopped praying for her wayward son.
5. "Must Be The Whiskey"
A highlight of 2018's Lifers, Jinks adds his own spin to songs about drinking to forget. This musical equivalent of a mixed drink gets flavored by a generous pour of classic blues-rock vibes.
To experience "Must Be the Whiskey" in its full ethereal glory, check out the version on Red Rocks Live.
4. "Somewhere in the Middle"
Gorgeous acoustic instrumentation plus driving percussion guide along one of Jinks' best vocal performances across one of his strongest odes to his blue-collar fanbase. It's the second best song on 2010's Less Wise, following our next pick.
3. "Hippies and Cowboys"
Galloping, bass-driven accompaniment sets the mood for this declaration of independence from trend-chasers in Nashville and Hollywood. It's a dissing of counterfeit cowboys, complete with a Merle Haggard namedrop, that's in line with how Jinks still conducts his business.
2. "Cast No Stones"
This steel guitar-bathed anthem for independent spirits sits at the same crossroads of Southern rock and hard-nosed country frequently visited by the likes of Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr.
1. "Loud and Heavy"
Live crowd favorite and Adobe Sessions high point "Loud and Heavy" best captures Jinks as a storyteller as capable of painting vivid pictures with words as Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson and other modern country heavyweights. Unsurprisingly, it's by far the most streamed Jinks song on Spotify.
Honorable mention songs: "Never Alone Always Lonely," "Which One I Feed," "No Words," "I'm Not the Devil," "Hurt You" and "Wish You Were Here" (Pink Floyd cover)
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