Song Review – Cody Jinks – “Fast Lane”

As venues remain closed and tours cancelled due to the Coronavirus, many artists and bands are cutting loose of some of their deeper unreleased catalog cuts to help keep revenue coming in and their name out in the public. What you can expect from most of this material is the odds and sods that were left on the cutting house floor, similar to a Record Store Day release, maybe relevant to those hardcore fans who want to get their fingers on everything their favorite artists release, but overall these songs are often indicative of why they didn’t make the final cut in the first place.

But when it comes to an artist like Cody Jinks, and especially his landmark album Adobe Sessions from 2015 that was so damn good it came in at #5 on Saving Country Music’s Greatest Albums of the Last Decade, even the leftovers can be better than many typical artist’s main course Greatest Hits.

Along with an acoustic demo version of the song “Never Alone, Always Lonely” from his latest album The Wanting, Cody Jinks has just released a song called “Fast Lane” from the 2015 Adobe Sessions. You could call it typical Cody Jinks in how it plods along in half time, with the bass rattling your rib cage and the steel guitar high in the mix. But typical Cody Jinks also means you get a killer country song with writing that sounds like something composed specifically for you.

“Fast Lane” is sort of a cautionary tale about how the curiosity of adolescence leads to the dependency of adulthood, and how this can go on to wreck your life if you let it. You can tell Jinks is singing from experience—his own, and those of the people around him, including some that melt away as their demons overtake them. Like everything that Jinks writes or releases, it’s hard to not hear the passion he puts behind every song. The track is rendered even better by the guitar outtro that really understands to mood and message Cody Jinks is attempting to convey.

“Fast Lane” has been kicking around for a while if you knew where to look. Another studio version, less refined and with a fiddle intro from the currently-unpublished Cast No Stones album has been on YouTube for a while, and Jinks has played this song a few times live. But “Fast Lane” still feels fresh to your ears, and this version is definitely the definitive one.

This song is so good, it seems strange why Jinks wouldn’t have kept it on Adobe Sessions, or released it on a later record. But with Adobe Sessions coming in at 12 songs already, and the way the production is somewhat similar to other tracks on the album, maybe it would have been lost in the shuffle, and felt like a little too much. Meanwhile receiving an unexpected Cody Jinks song in the middle of COVID-19 lockdown is incredibly welcome, and reminds you why Cody Jinks is so revered in your little music realm.

When your “not good enough” material is still “better than most,” that’s when you know you’re one hell of an artist. That’s Cody Jinks.