The ‘outlaw’ label seems to be bandied around quite casually these days, to the extent that the category has somewhat lost its meaning. Yet Cody Jinks’ stormy, charismatic brand of country music could well be the sound that brings the real outlaws back to Music City.
From the late 90s to 2003, Jinks was the lead singer of Unchecked Aggression, an ambitious thrash-metal band. However, having been raised in Haltom City, Texas, it wasn’t too long before Jinks returned to the country music that had surrounded him as a child.
Jinks’ discography is lengthy and diverse in equal measure, but at the heart of each LP is a celebration of all the outcasts and desperados looking for a place to call home. It’s an attitude embodied by his fanbase, who call themselves the ‘Black Sheep’.
2010’s Less Wise felt like the key marker-post that signified Cody Jinks’ return to country music. His laid-back, guttural vocals often veer into Kristofferson-esque territory, while his odes to the “hippies and cowboys” of the world set the tone for his subsequent projects. Less Wise saw regional success, while 2016’s I’m Not the Devil found Jinks finally knocking down the industry door that had kept him outside of the mainstream for so long, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart.
In October 2019, Jinks stayed true to his persona as an individual in an egalitarian society by releasing two albums in the space of just a week. Jinks’ 2021 album, Mercy, carried the weight of his previous records, but with a welcome injection of lyrical playfulness.
Having embraced his Nashvillian rejection and incorporated it into his outlaw image, Jinks proudly calls himself ‘The Biggest Independent Country Artist on the Planet’. His claim to be such was bolstered when he won Music Row’s 2021 CountryBreakout Award for Independent Artist of the Year.
Jinks will perform on March 13th at the event, which has been dubbed the world's largest livestock exhibition.