It’s not often that an artist releases two albums within a week of each other, but that is exactly what Cody Jinks has done with After the Fire and The Wanting (Late August Records). You don’t have to listen very long before you realize that they are two very different albums.
After the Fire is a fairly straightforward country album. Whether it’s the fiddle of Billuy Contreras in “Ain’t a Train” or the pedal steel by Austin Tripp in “Yesterday Again”, you get the feeling of classic country that has long been the soundtrack in dark honky tonks.
One standout song on the album is “One Good Decision”. This is a swinging song that will get couples two-stepping. The rhythm section (Joshua Thompson on bass and David Colvin on drums) without question propels this song with a really good groove. At the same time it’s impossible to ignore the pedal steel. On top of that are the lyrics, which focus on fidelity rather than cheating. Jinks sings about how he’ll be leaving the bar alone because he has a good woman at home. This one is sure to be a hit both at Jinks’s live shows as well as in country bars.
When you hear this album, you realize that it could easily be a staple on country radio stations nationwide. Jinks has clearly spent a lot of time listening to classic country artists and maintaining his own sound while staying true to the roots of country music.
The Wanting is a completely different album that meets at the crossroads of country and classic rock. The classic rock sound comes through particularly in the guitar of Chris Claridy on “Same Kind of Crazy as Me” and “The Plea”.
One great example of the difference between these to albums is “Which One I Feed”, which is an interesting arrangement. The song is driven by the bass line by Thompson and and a marching drum beat by Colvin. It also features some backing vocals that are more of a chant and lend to the dark feeling of the song. While a lot of the songs are made for the honky tonk, this one is more for a big crowd at a rock festival.
A lot of familiar themes appear on The Wanting. One of those is the compulsion to bounce from one place to the next. In “Ramble”, he sings about getting on two wheels when life gives you more than you can handle. The arrangement of this song is different than the others too. The piano and the shuffle beat are the most prominent throughout the song, but it also features some great fiddle and an organ part that gives the song a soul feel.
After the Fire and The Wanting are two very different albums, but both of them are incredibly well done. Both showcase Jinks’s abilities as a compelling songwriter. Whether it’s his sharp lyrics (check out “Never Alone Always Lonely” for an example) or his melodies that inspire dancing, it’s hard not to admire the songs he produces. After the Fire was released on October 11, and The Wanting was released on October 18. Both are available everywhere now. Order either or both here.