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Cody Jinks leads strong country lineup at sold-out Armory

Cody Jinks
Photo: Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Country fans descended upon the Armory Saturday night for one of the most anticipated shows of 2020. The sold-out evening featured three of the genre’s best acts: fast-rising headliner Cody Jinks, Alex Williams, and Nikki Lane.

Williams’ opening set was short but sweet. While he and his band only played for around 30 minutes, they made the most of their opportunity. Though outlaw influences comprised the bulk of Williams’ sound, his reverence came off as authentic and tasteful.

The set was straightforward but strong, in large part due to Williams’ rich deep voice (always a plus in country music). His lead guitarist was another highlight, ripping off impressive solo after impressive solo. Though some of the crowd was still filing in towards the beginning, those who were there undoubtedly appreciated what the band had to offer.

Nikki Lane’s set covered a bit of similar ground stylistically but brought a wider range to the table sonically. Lane and her band moved confidently and effectively, exploring many more textures and tempos in the process. That, coupled with her distinctive voice and excellent lyrics, made for a strong set that more than set the stage for Jinks.

Few “roots” artists have risen as explosively and organically over the last half-decade as Cody Jinks. A country singer-songwriter from Fort Worth, Texas, Jinks has seen his star rise due in large part to relentless touring and a consistent, rewarding, and ever-expanding catalog. He showed why he deserves the acclaim he’s received at his Armory debut.

One of the main keys to Jinks’ success, of course, are his songs. It’s a simple idea, though one reaffirmed by the live show. His strong catalog, and his ability to pull from any part of it without losing connection to the audience, is a testament to how many solid songs he’s written and the way they connect to people.

In fact, the show was about the songs and little else. There were no fancy light show, little-to-no extended jamming, and an appropriate amount of (tasteful) stage banter.

Put simply, if you were a hardcore Cody Jinks fan, this was the show for you. There was older material (early set highlight “I’m Not the Devil” remains one of his best) alongside a steady helping of tracks from his two most recent albums, The Wanting and After the Fire.

Most of the set stayed in the mid-tempo country lane sonically, which longtime Cody fans have come to expect, but it was when he subtly deviated from this form that some of the best moments occurred. Specifically, the anthemic, rock-influenced “Holy Water,” from 2018’s breakout Lifers, proved to be a cathartic change of pace towards the end of the night.

The set offered a compelling statement as to why Jinks’ music has connected with so many people. He’s the real damn deal. In a genre/scene that prizes authenticity, Jinks stands out as more genuine and authentic than most. It’s a recipe for success, and there’s no telling how much further he’ll take it.

Written by Aaron Williams

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