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Jinks wins over fans, especially new ones

Emerson Colonial Theatre, Boston, August 15, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Cody Jinks asked the crowd a bit into his show how many had never seen him before. It seemed like Jinks has made a lot of musical inroads into the public's consciousness because roughly three quarters of the audience raised their hands to show that this was their first time.

That probably made Jinks feel pretty darn good about how life has been in the three years since "I'm Not the Devil," with the title track being his biggest hit.

Yet, the Dallas native made it clear he was not going to rest on his laurels because he said he always goes out onstage hoping he's not going to screw up. One blown line could ruin it for him, he claimed.

Well, if he did mess up, it wasn't the last bit obvious. But what was clear was that there was ample reason for the growth of his crowds. From his sharp, full-bodied singing to quality songs to a very strong band, Jinks presented an invigorated evening of music that was on the country rock side.

Jinks may have a new album coming out in October, but he played none of "After the Fire" and instead offered a good portion of "Lifers" and "Adobe Sessions."

That started with "Must Be the Whiskey" on an evening where it was a musical family affair of sorts, if you will. Jinks was joined onstage by opening act Josh Morningstar in what would be a love affair of musicians on this evening. Later, middle act Ward Davis, who helped write "I'm Not the Devil" after a lot of booze and weed was consumed, according to Jinks, took the stage for that song.

Hidden behind shades from start to finish and a far shorter beard than he used to have, Jinks was fully engaged on this night, the first of two. So was the crowd, which didn't need much encouragement to sing along.

Jinks' band ably offered support, perhaps no one more so than diminutive lead guitarist Chris Claridy, who scorched time and again with twangy, steely and sharp runs. Jinks also benefitted from a clear sound mix where you could actually hear the bass, pedal steel, keyboards, drums and guitars, not to mention Jinks' singing.

Based on performances like this, Jinks doubtlessly won over a new cadre of supporters.

Jinks didn't need to rely on his friends, but that's why they were on the tour. They didn't disappoint either, particularly Davis. The long, tall Arkansas artist came out with a "Good evening Boston" before jumping into "Get to Work Whiskey" and was in control from there with his brand of traditional country. Alcohol was a prime subject matter throughout the night.

Davis, who has written songs for artists including Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, channeled Waylon Jennings, whose influence was felt throughout the night. To underscore Jennings' presence, Davis turned in a credible version of "Are You Sure Hank's Done It This Way?"

Morningstar was a little bit less traditional than his counterparts, but the Maryland native turned in a satisfying, consistent set. He didn't quite have the presence or songs up to the quality of Davis or Jinks, but being in the Jinks hemisphere has done Morningstar good.