Artist: Cody Jinks
Album: I'm Not The Devil
Label: Cody Jinks Music
Release Date: 08/12/2016
Before he was Cody Jinks, country singer-songwriter, he was Cody Jinks, lead singer of thrash metal band, Unchecked Aggression. Fast forward a few years later to after the group disbanded and Jinks took a musical hiatus. In 2005, he found his way back to the music he grew up with: country. Setting aside the pounding heavy metal guitar, he launched a career as a Texas-country artist and has since released several full-length records on his own label. His most recent record, I’m Not The Devil, released mid-August of this year, has been met with positive praise, garnering the #4 spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
With the tone of an old-school outlaw and the feel of a decades-long professional country career, I’m Not The Devil is Cody Jinks’ best release yet. Twangy folk track, “The Same”, opens the record, high-pitched strings rising above gruff vocals. Following the opener is the album’s title track, a bittersweet ballad written in quick collaboration between Jinks and fellow singer-songwriter Ward Davis. Slower and more ashamed than the record’s other tracks, “I’m Not The Devil” begins by begging for forgiveness with Jinks’ aching voice singing “It ain’t no excuse but I’m just a man/I slipped and I fell/It got out of hand/But I’m not the devil you think that I am”. Later, “She’s All Mine” is a refreshing love song with an upbeat rhythm, presumably given as a gift to the listener, letting us come up for air from the majority of the record’s unapologetic agony. Next, Jinks tackles Merle Haggard’s famous “The Way I Am”, doing it justice and more by treating it not as a jog, but as a mosey, allowing vocal clarity to shine through uncomplicated pulses of rhythm. “Heavy Load” is outlaw country at its most honest, lumbering with dark tones and a smoky baritone until it is sliced through with throbbing harmony and wailing fiddle. The track takes so many gorgeous, alarming turns that it stands out as Jinks’ most admirable work on the record, perhaps tied with the trembling, glittering gospel of “Give All You Can”. Finally, I’m Not The Devil ends with the scathing, stomping political romp “Hand Me Down”.
An equal blend of unforgiving outlaw country and thoughtful folk declarations, I’m Not The Devil finds Cody Jinks solidifying his status as a pioneer in today’s country that sticks to its roots and effortlessly evolves when it calls for it.