Artist: Cody Jinks
Label: Rounder Records
Genre: Country, Outlaw Country, Alternate Country
Looks like I might be a little behind the masses when it comes to Cody Jinks’ newest record. I’ve seen plenty of reviews on it, but I’ve never been one to follow the status quo. So, here’s my review, five months later. Lifers is Jinks’ eighth solo album, released this July with Rounder Records. It peaked at No. 11 on the US Billboard 200, and No. 2 on the US Billboard Country chart.
I was surprised to find that Jinks has a background in thrash metal with an album called The Massacre Begins from 2002. The band, Unchecked Aggression, broke up shortly after in 2005 and Jinks found a new path and passion in the music he grew up with–country. It also seems that Jinks has become the frontman for the recent shift in country music since his 2016 album, I’m Not The Devil, debuted at No. 4 on the Top Country Albums Chart where he found himself surrounded by his mainstream country counterparts. I’m Not The Devil impressively sold 11,300 copies in the first week. He co-headlined a tour with Whitey Morgan and the 78’s to support the album and Rolling Stone took notice, naming it one of the best country albums of 2016.
Having spent the last 20 years touring, writing, playing, and recording, Jinks has certainly paid his dues, and it’s about time he get the recognition he deserves outside the honky tonk, roadside bar, and juke joint circuit as well. Now, I admit, I had my doubts about how great this album was going to be and understandably so with the state of country music these days, after all, I’ve never been on to blindly jump on the bandwagon whenever something garnered mass praise. You never want something to be too good to be true, you know? When I did eventually put my reservations aside and finally listened to Lifers in its entirety, I was pleasantly surprised with what I’d found. Perhaps, for once, I should have climbed up on the bandwagon with the rest of you. I’m a big girl, I can admit that.
Lifers is the every man’s album, and Jinks is the working man’s man, the lower and middle class’ gospel preacher. Lifers is for the broken down and lonely, the heartbroken, the struggling, the travelling musician, and the lost. When looking through the song credits I was happy to find many of the other artists I really enjoyed listening to on the roster. Paul Cauthen (Big Last Name/Desert Wind), Whitey Morgan (Somewhere Between I Love You And I’m Leavin), and Ward Davis (Can’t Quit Enough/Colorado), among others.
Jinks has hit the nail on the head with this album in its deep songwriting and production. I always say that every good country album needs a steel guitar, and Jinks has brought it to the table. His voice even, at times, is reminiscent of Alan Jackson–just another added bonus to an already incredible album.
Favorite songs: Must Be The Whiskey, Somewhere Between I Love You And I’m Leavin’, Big Last Name, Desert Wind, Can’t Quit Enough, Stranger, Head Case