Album Review – Cody Jinks – “Red Rocks Live”
Cody Jinks did not become one of the most successful artists in independent country music to the point where he’s now minting Gold and Platinum records from the support of some record label, mainstream radio play, opportunities on big tours, shout outs from major celebrities, or fawning coverage from the press.
Aside from a weekend DJ named Ben Ryan on the small radio station ‘The Ranch’ in Fort Worth who almost got fired for playing Cody so much, Jinks went mostly ignored by much of the music world as he quietly amassed one of the largest and most loyal fans bases in the genre. It’s Cody’s songs, and the connections made with fans through his live shows that have Jinks defying odds, and rewriting the possibilities for independent country artists.
Adding to his arsenal of studio projects, Cody Jinks unleashes his first proper concert album called Red Rocks Live, recorded professionally at the legendary venue of the same name situated between the painted boulders of picturesque Colorado. A sweeping work of 23 songs encapsulating the lion’s share of Cody’s song legacy with little banter or cover material, Jinks and his band capture a spirited rendition of what you experience live, which is a high-energy and tightly-performed hard country show, ranging from blistering fist-pumping moments to more reserved and meaningful ones.
The first big question with any live release for audiophiles and general fans alike is the quality of the recordings. Red Rocks Live is a fine specimen of live material, with crowd noise included at the beginning and end of songs, but not overbearing during them, putting you as close to in-person as possible, with clean-enough signals to appreciate and delineate the separate players. It’s a fairly conventional, but quite successful live release.
The live context allows for Cody’s band “The Tonedeaf Hippies” to stretch their legs a bit more than they do in the studio, with lead guitar player Chris Claridy, keyboard player Drew Harakal, and steel player Austin “Hot Rod” Tripp taking full advantage of this opportunity on certain tracks. Guests include Cody’s own mother early on, appropriately on “Mamma Song,” and Paul Cauthen on the song “Big Last Name.” Though covers are a custom on many live records and in the Cody Jinks setlist, Alan Jackson’s “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” is the only one that adorns this particular set of songs.
More than just capturing the music, Red Rocks Live captures an important moment in the maturation of Cody Jinks. Similar to his feat of selling out the Ryman Auditorium on consecutive nights across enemy lines in Nashville a few years ago, filling every seat at Red Rocks was not just a bucket list achievement for Jinks, it was a shot across the bow of the mainstream, and an illustration of the commercial prowess emerging in the independent ranks—the picture of Cody on the cover standing at center stage in front of a sea of fans says it all.
The album also captures why so many trekked to Colorado to hear Cody Jinks perform, from the swell of anticipation you can hear from the crowd as the intro to the song “I’m Not The Devil” takes shape, to bringing the house lights up having everyone sing along to his signature songs like “Cast No Stones” and “Hippies and Cowboys” near the end of the set. Cody also appropriately slipped in “Colorado” before ending with his now Platinum-selling single “Loud and Heavy.”
Cody Jinks doesn’t sing to his fans, or for his fans. Cody Jinks sings with his fans. He’s one of them—a man “Somewhere in the Middle” like he sings about in the middle of this set. And the connection he makes with his fans—from the dedicated “Flockers,” to more everyday traditional and Outlaw country listeners—is something tough to quantify or explain unless you’ve experienced it. But it comes close to being captured in recorded form on Red Rocks Live.
– – – – – – – – – – – –
The live album is now available for purchase, and you can also sign up for the live stream on Saturday (12-5) evening.
December 5, 2020 @ 9:36 am
I love crowd noise lathered all over live recorded tracks – the more screams, hollers, singalongs, glass breaking and “Dwight Yoakam”s the better – otherwise, I’d just listen to the studio album and just clap loudly after each song. My favorite live albums are rowdy, flawed and unedited (most from yesteryears).
I’ll give this one a spin, but the opening track/ video on social media yesterday (“Must Be the Whiskey”) sounded too pristine and polished.
December 5, 2020 @ 9:41 am
For some reason these tracks aren’t on YouTube or I would have selected some better samples. There’s definitely a “rowdy” feel to the record, and like I said in the review, pretty ample crowd noise. The tracks I wanted to put here were “Somewhere in the Middle,” and either “Hippies and Cowboys” or “Loud and Heavy.” I feel like they capture the vibe of the concert pretty good.
December 5, 2020 @ 7:39 pm
“Cast No Stones” into the opening of “Hippies and Cowboys” was where I really felt the beneficial impact of the crowd.
Conversely, “David” didn’t really work for me live — that one’s all about the lyrics, and it felt like too much was distracting from them.
December 5, 2020 @ 10:35 am
Yep, every time I listen to the Moonpies live album, I can’t help but smile when the chick screams out “I LUUUV Fireball!” The album wouldn’t be the same without that.
December 7, 2020 @ 9:42 am
WAIT. Hold up. There’s a Moonpies live record? How did I miss this???
December 5, 2020 @ 11:03 am
Agreed, that’s why I love anything produced at Billy Bob’s like Ragweed and Boland, or Lucero’s Live in Atlanta. The raw sound really puts you there, pretty much the opposite of live records like Isbell at the Ryman which was a trainwreck IMO.
December 5, 2020 @ 12:42 pm
I have Amazon’s streaming service and I have streamed every Live at Billy Bob ‘s Texas album (even the artists I’m not enamored with) because of the listening experience. The energy, the sound mix…. the top notch.
December 5, 2020 @ 1:09 pm
My first true Red Dirt album was Randy Rogers Band Live at Billy Bob’s. Mind blowing and magical. Everyone in the band had their chops, but they were young enough that you could sense their respect for the venue.
December 5, 2020 @ 9:37 am
As someone who has seen Jinks multiple times, I really appreciate him releasing an album like this – especially when most of us can’t get to live performances. I hope all of you get to experience this at least once. His concerts are electric. And it’s great to see he included “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.”
December 5, 2020 @ 9:44 am
My favorite is still Jinks’ cover of Clint Black’s “Nothing’s News.”
I also hope he never removes PF’s “Wish You Were Here.” It was the perfect length to take a piss, get a shot and beer, and get back to your spot on the floor before the next song, song. Kind of like an intermission.
December 5, 2020 @ 12:13 pm
I’ll give this a shot, I have fond memories of Red Rocks from the press junket to the Clash of the Titans tour (Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax). Most beautiful venue ever.
The grocery store near my hotel had yogurt and live worms for fishing in the same refrigerator. City girl me was not ready for that …😁
December 5, 2020 @ 12:41 pm
So far I really like it. It’s always 50-50 with me when it comes to live albums as some are great and then some are awful. I will say I really like a lot of the songs from lifers live in this setting as opposed to the studio version.
December 5, 2020 @ 1:49 pm
Sorry, but I’ve seen Cody live several times and this just doesn’t capture it. The production seems muted and i agree with the others regarding the lack of crowd noise. Nevertheless, it’s still way, way, way better than most so i’ll be listening to it on repeat while patiently waiting for the real thing!
December 5, 2020 @ 10:03 pm
Sounds really good. Did Jinks get an undercut?
December 6, 2020 @ 6:06 am
I traveled from Georgia to see this show and it did not disappoint!!! Great show great album
December 7, 2020 @ 12:15 pm
Love the album cover. A far cry from the first time I saw him, opening for Whitey Morgan and the 78’s. Roughly 60 people in a club in Pekin, IL. Cody Jinks is the success story of this past decade, well deserved.
December 7, 2020 @ 9:44 pm
It would be interesting to know how much of this album is actually live (not that anyone will ever say). Not many real live albums out there. I’ve been in a Nashville studio watching a band rework their ‘live’ album/DVD. I always knew there were fixes, but this was a real eye opener, and highly disappointing.
December 11, 2020 @ 1:48 pm
Finally had a chance to listen to this. Definitely not 100% live, but I’m really digging it. I was introduced to Cody one night while watching the Time Jumpers @ 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville. Cody jumped on stage and sang, and I was blown away. But none of his studio output impressed me. This I like.
Catfish Slayer Jeff
December 30, 2020 @ 10:52 am
I was first introduced to Cody Jinks, the band and good ole “Dolly” for you hardcore fans, the first time in 2013 playing in my cousins bar for 25-30 people and I have been following him all over since. Reason why; he puts his heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears in his music, wanting all of us to be able to relate in our own way as he peels layers of himself off and shares his personal experiences, pains and torments openly and honestly. Other songs are written to intentionally grasp at your heart as in “David”.
He is a great writer and performer who surrounds himself with like-minded artists lifting each other up, giving opportunities to fellow artists to write and collaborate songs the he records (Ward Davis “Colorado”, Josh Morningstar “Must Be The Whiskey”, Billy Don Burns “Gaylord Creek”) and he celebrates the successes of a much larger group than himself..He will give you the shirt off his back or buy ya a beer.. I’ve called him a friend for many years as he calls me his pain in the ass I’m sure, lol.. I have nothing but love, support and appreciation to the Brotherhood of Jinks. Each album he independently puts out is like a salute to the men and women that paved the roads in the past and a BIG middle finger to the “Man”!
“THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION”
January 12, 2021 @ 8:58 pm
Alright I had a nothing to do winter Tuesday night so I finally got to settle in and watch the complete show and (listen to) this for the first time. I was saving it and not listening OR watching until I was READY for a night that would be amazing. All I have to say is WOW! …..an absolutely incredible production…….THUMBS UP!!! First because I’m a video guy whoever edited this live video did a great job, I don’t know his/her name but they knew exactly when to cut to the most important musician during any given song without being to herky jerky…..etc a skill that’s as important as being a musician or producer so many don’t know or understand if you want to watch a show and not get sick…lol. A+ !! Everything was great with Cody’s mom with cuts to family and kids…. absolutely perfect!!! Once upon a time when this site turned me on me on to Cody I started with the I’m Not Devil live tour setlist and I said THAT should’ve been A or THE live album but this is just as good with video!!! I’m sure there’s a reason the video/DVD/Blu-Ray isn’t for sale but it should be. Fans should be able to own and watch this moment in time.