Cody Jinks - Mercy
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Mercy (Late August, 2021)

Cody Jinks

Reviewed by Brian Baker

Cody Jinks stands defiantly among the generation that grew up with country music, but chose a louder, more aggressive outlet for their creative expressions. As a teenager, the native Texan learned country licks from his father, but channeled his high school angst and anger through the lens of heavy metal and thrash. When his band broke up in 2004, Jinks took a musical hiatus, emerging a year later as a more overtly country artist and releasing his debut solo album, "Collector's Item," in 2006.

Over the subsequent 16 years, Jinks has dropped a number of albums that fit comfortably in the outlaw country niche. Most impressively, Jinks has accomplished nearly all of this as a self-releasing artist; only his 2018 album "Lifers" came out on a known label (Rounder), and its predecessor, 2016's "I'm Not the Devil," sold more copies. Jinks has been incredibly prolific over the past four years: "Lifers" was followed a year later by two albums in 2019, "After the Fire" and "The Wanting," self-released within a week of each other. With "Mercy," Jinks marks his 10th album in 16 years and his fifth in the past six years.

It's not difficult to draw parallels between Jinks and the leading lights of outlaw country as well as his torch-bearing contemporaries. The spirits of Dwight Yoakam and Dave Alvin inhabit opener "All It Cost Me Was Everything," while the title track, "Dying Isn't Cheap" and "How It Works" lope along the fresh traditional country path that Jinks has helped blaze with the likes of Chris Stapleton and Luke Combs.

"I Don't Trust My Memories Anymore," co-written by Jinks, Chris Shiflett of Foo Fighters and Kendall Marvel, finds hin channeling pre-outlaw Waylon Jennings, "Nobody Knows How to Read" is an incisive look at the class divisions and media theatrics that grip the country ("Got my ear to the ground/There's signs all around/But nobody knows how to read") dressed in the dusty trappings of a cowboy campfire ballad ,and "When Whiskey Calls the Shots" brings the set to a boozy, bluesy close with last call clarity. Cody Jinks is clear evidence that you don't need the spurious assistance of a major label to make great music and get it to the people who will love it.

CDs by Cody Jinks

Mercy, 2021 The Wanting, 2019 After the Fire, 2019 Lifers, 2018 I'm Not the Devil, 2016

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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