Cody Jinks Plays New Songs, Covers Randy Travis in Portland (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

Cody Jinks played the second of two nights at Portland, Oregon’s Crystal Ballroom last Friday night, giving the sold-out crowd a healthy dose of authentic country music. I say “authentic” because this isn’t music that’s created by an army of writers and producers in the Nashville corporate music machine. Jinks skips all the filters and hit-making algorithms and delivers music straight from the heart, looking for a direct connection with those who hear it. And connect, it does. A second Portland show was added after the first date quickly sold out. Fans know the songs in spite of the fact that they aren’t played on mainstream country radio. Fans also recently pushed Jinks’ new album Lifers (Rounder Records) to the number two spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart, second only to a new release from Kenny Chesney.

After an opening set from California country-rock outfit Pearl, Red Shahan and his band took the stage. With Elijah Ford, the producer of Shahan’s most recent album, Culberson County, on electric guitar, the band launched into the rocking anthem “Revolution.” Shahan’s delivery seemed more confident, and the set was definitely more hard-driving than when he opened an Oregon show for Jinks just a few months ago. With two solid releases under his belt, and the honing of his live set, Shahan is working hard and proving to be a rock-solid touring act.

Jinks thanks his dedicated fans by giving his all in concert and letting them know how much it means to him that they choose to spend their time and money coming to his show. On Friday, Jinks and his band played songs spanning his five albums and threw in a few choice covers as well, including Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,” and the Randy Travis tune “Diggin’ Up Bones.”

Much like Willie, Waylon and the boys did during the outlaw country era of the 70s, Jinks and his musician friends collaborate on writing songs and work to create a strong musical family. Jinks’ setlist was sprinkled with co-writes with fellow artists, including Whitey Morgan (“Somewhere Between I Love You and I’m Leavin’”), Ward Davis (“I’m Not The Devil,” “Can’t Quit Enough”), and Paul Cauthen (“Big Last Name”).

Although there are certainly fan favorites, a few of which are saved for the end of the show, there aren’t any sleepers in a Cody Jinks show. The band is tight from gigging and recording, and new songs like “Holy Water,” slower burners like “Somewhere In The Middle” and driving numbers like “Been Around” are all played with high enthusiasm, keeping the crowd hanging on every note.

Other than thanking the audience between songs, there were really only two pauses during the set. One was to sing happy birthday to pedal steel player “Hotrod” Austin Tripp. The second, unfortunately, was because of a scuffle near the stage. Ironically, it was during the song “Cast No Stones.” The band stopped playing for a minute, then Jinks let everyone know just how he felt. “We’re not here for that bullshit. I don’t think it’s cool. We’re here to take care of one another.” The band came back together and dropped into the chorus with added emotion, the crowd yelling along, “I cast no stones…”

There was still more to come, including the sing-along “Hippies and Cowboys” to close the set. The encore included “Rock and Roll” and “Loud and Heavy.” Jinks’ hard work has paid off with slow but steady growth. His dedication to the music is matched by his fans’ dedication to him. It seems that Cody Jinks is in it for the long haul, and there’s a whole batch of country music fans that are happy to be along for the ride.

On August 18th, at the Panther Island Pavilion in Ft. Worth, Texas, Cody Jinks is hosting his very own festival. The Loud and Heavy Fest is a one-day event and features country and rock acts including Whitey Morgan, Whiskey Myers, Corrosion of Conformity, Nikki Lane and many more. 

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