Country music today is arguably more popular than ever. While numerous classic rockers like Steven Tyler, Jon Bon Jovi, and Darius Rucker have jumped on the Nashville bandwagon and “gone country,” several artists like singer/songwriter Cody Jinks has hesitated to do so.
Jinks is among a group of fiercely independent artists like Sturgill Simpson, Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton who are creating a backlash against the predictability of Nashville’s “bro-country” and stirring up a resurgence among artists who champion sonic authenticity and deep subject matter.
If Florida-Georgia Line is all about Friday night, then Cody Jinks can tell you about Monday morning and hard living.
In his song Vampires, Jinks laments the death of innocence, optimism and youthful dreams while presenting the main theme of J.D. Salinger’s book, Catcher in the Rye.
He writes, “Where do dreams die along the way? Dreams are all we had yesterday. Who told all the vampires of the world, they were welcome anyway? Where do dreams die? Who gave who the message? Who gave who the hands of time? Who gave who the job to take reason and the rhyme? Like another Holden Caulfield I’m a Catcher in the Rye. Who told who to take the dreams out back to die?”
On Feb. 7, Jinks will perform with Ward Davis and Sunny Sweeney at the Miller Theater. Reserved seating is available and ticket prices range from $35 to $65. VIP tickets are also available for $202 and include a private meet and greet among other perks. Doors open at 7 p.m. with music at 8 p.m. Visit millertheateraugusta.com.
At first glance, Jinks seems a poignant reminder of the iconic figures of the ’70s country outlaw movement. He adorns himself in blue jeans, T-shirts and a big black hat. He wears his hair long like his honkytonk heroes Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings and keeps his beard even longer.
But if you unearthed a camera with undeveloped pictures, you would see Jinks back in time in 1988 in Haltom City, Texas, as a rebellious rocker, logging six years as front man and guitarist for thrash metal band Unchecked Aggression.
After the band broke up, Jinks took a year off. He channeled the angst and defiance of his metal years and the honky-tonk heartache of his musical roots and began creating introspective and brooding country ballads full of Telecaster twang and pedal steel guitar.
Jinks’ 2016 release I’m Not the Devil saw a grassroots ascent that led the album to No. 4 on Billboard’s Country Album charts and included a cover of Haggard’s The Way I Am. Jinks followed that album with a co-headlining tour with Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, which set the table for him to sell out venues across the country.
But, if you really want to hear about Jinks, the first person you may want to ask is his tour companion Sunny Sweeney.
“People ask if I’m actually friends with him and I say, ‘Yes, I’ve known him for a while and appreciate and respect what he does … you’re going to be sad if you miss the show, so plan ahead now,’ ” Sweeney said.
Jinks and Sweeney are part of the ongoing outlaw story and quickly drawing crowds, racking up numbers and selling out multiple nights at venues usually reserved for the elite. Last year, Jinks and Sweeney (along with Ward Davis) filled The Ryman Auditorium and sold out 2,362 seats on multiple nights, back to back.
“I have never had such a high playing on a stage,” Sweeney said. “I had played on the Ryman stage before during a Grand Ole Opry show, but having my own band there with me on the stage was something else. I was honored to be able to be a part of such an event.” The trio also sold out multiple shows at Nashville’s mid-sized 3rd and Lindsley, a testament to their
Later this year, Sweeney will join Miranda Lambert for a couple of shows on the Livin Like Hippies Tour and will move on to headlining her own shows and then start on a new record.
Meanwhile, Jinks will continue headlining the CodyJinksTour18 and will perform various summer festivals, all while going back into the studio to release his sixth album.