Given his renegade reputation and off-kilter attitude, it’s little surprise that Cody Jinks has gained such a storied stature within the Americana community.
Weaned on metal and mayhem with an initial role as the lead singer of a thrash band, he shifted his stance while remaining a tenacious rebel.
Here is Holler's list of 15 of the best Cody Jinks songs:
The ideal opener for his major label break-out, Lifers, this song finds him asserting his role as a dedicated and defiant insurgent.
“I walk around on pins and needles among people I can’t even name”, he insists over the song’s relentless rhythm. It’s the surest sign of his arched intents.
The single that preceded the release of Lifers, ‘Must Be the Whiskey’ offers Jinks an excuse as to why he’s such a rebel and raconteur.
There’s an inherent honesty plied to this unlikely mix of confession and confrontation, and it manages to put the blame for his behavior on the evils of alcohol.
Released as a double A-side single with ‘The Wanting’, ‘Which One I Feed’ is another stoic statement expressing the singer’s desire and determination.
As always, Jinks expresses his case conclusively, revealing once again a darker demeanor. Nevertheless, he manages to convey compelling conviction through the song’s resolute refrain.
Belatedly chosen as the title track for one of Jinks’ most successful album at that point in his burgeoning career, this song seems to backtrack a bit by insisting his rowdy ways aren’t necessarily representative of who he really is.
A surprisingly tender ballad by Jinks standards, it shores up sympathy fully and effectively.
Jinks seems to find hard luck in happenstance at every turn. Given its solid stomp, the lyric “I’ve been high, I’ve been low, been wound up tighter than a hangman’s rope”, wrings with the reckoning and self-pity spawned from a candid confession. Credit him with owning up to his attitude.
Jinks finds reason to relate to this classic tale written by Sonny Throckmorton and made famous by Merle Haggard. Here again, he uses the tune to make a singular statement without finding the need to make excuses or avoid the issue. ‘The Way I Am’ simply describes the way it is.
Jinks channels his inner Waylon Jennings with 'No Guarantees'. A gruff vocal, rollicking rhythm and shimmering pedal steel underscore the drive and determination, making this anthem a signature song that defines his upstart attitude.
In other words, one can only count on him to do what he will.
Sung over an easy strum at a straight-ahead pace, the singer makes no excuse for his erratic behavior. “Don’t go to church on Sunday, don’t go to work on Monday”, he insists, leaving it to others to make of him what they will.
Perhaps the most unlikely entry in Jinks’ recorded resume, this austere cover of the Pink Floyd classic works surprisingly well as a sobering musical soliloquy, courtesy of its somber vocal and haunting infusion of well-plied pedal steel.
It demonstrates the fact that Jinks is more than the obstinate outlaw he suggests himself to be.
While many of his songs reflect an outsized persona, this track takes a personal perspective inspired by his grandparents.
A bit of a tearjerker, the tender tone projects an inherent and unavoidable sadness. (“Meet our little boy who died on his birthday”) A most affecting ballad, it’s both resonant and resolute.
Plied from the tellingly titled Less Wise, this early endeavor helped establish a musical mantra. Stalwart and straight-forward, it makes no excuses (“I know that’s no way for a man to behave”) in its defiant defense of his antagonistic attitude.
Clearly, there’s no way to tame this roubadour.
The title track of the album of the same name, the name itself suggests there’s a decided sense of yearning and desire.
“Like the sting or the burning of a slowly turning knife, I ache now just to hold you, make you feel my love”. A surging chorus ensures that the energy remains intact.
Whether the sentiment is calm or contentious, Jinks is generally adept at expressing honest emotion. That said, this tender ballad provides one of his most poignant love songs, an outright homage to a woman who brings him hope, salvation and reason for trying to be the best man he can.
A seminal effort, ‘Loud and Heavy’ shares an unnerving ache and trepidation, suggesting there’s a lot on Jinks’ proverbial plate, and he’s got plenty to contend with as he makes his way forward towards the future.
It’s an ominous offering, one that finds little hope on the horizon.
Even an outlaw can express remorse, and here, Jinks does his best to explain that he had no choice but to shoot the gunslinger that challenged him to a draw. “Never meant to be a bad man”, he sings, casting himself as simply a victim of fate and misfortune.
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