Cody Jinks is a traditionalist in any number of ways. His roughhewn, homegrown country sound borrows from the usual forebears—Waylon, Willie, Kris, Merle and Johnny among them—while sounding perfectly in sync with today’s current breed of Americana insurgents. His lyrical interests ride the party line, too: tears beer ballads; songs about booze, honkytonks and lost love; expressions of remorse and regret; and the obligatory ode to solitary surroundings. No surprise then that “Colorado” offers the same sentiments expressed by the Flying Burrito Brothers in a song with the same name. If nothing else, Cody Jinks sounds like a typical good ‘ol boy handle.
To some, Jinks may be merely retracing the tried-and-true. Indeed, with shimmering steel guitar, a steady pace and his hard bitten vocals, it’s difficult to differentiate him from any number of other contenders for the Americana crown these days. As the album title suggests, these are everyperson anthems intended to appeal to working class folks who are either down on their luck or simply see themselves as marginalized in a society that’s passed them by. The song “Stranger” sums things up succinctly, describing “a good kid from the country” who has not only lost his way, but also finds himself among “strangers who get stranger every day.”
Indeed, part of Jink’s appeal lies in his outsider stance. The concluding track, the determined, string-laden “Head Case,” has him insisting, “I’m still fighting things I’ve been fighting all these years. It’s sometimes overwhelming, but I can’t tell you why.”
Here again, Jinks mines the same template as any number of other rebels and resisters, but fortunately, he also asserts a belief and conviction that confirms his authenticity. And like all crafty country performers, he also shows a knack for coming up with catchy song titles that possess both irony and imagination. Indeed, the name given “Somewhere Between I Love You and I’m Leavin’” effectively sums up the state of a dysfunctional romance.
Lifers is the kind of album that ought to find a receptive audience with those that like their roots music honest, straightforward and unpretentious. Lifers affirms those values with every note and nuance.