It wasn’t all that long ago that Cody Jinks partnered with Rounder Records to release his 2018 release Lifers and it seemed that he was going to continue to work in the bigger indie leagues that working with the major indie provides. However, barely a year later and Jinks returned to the independent waters to release this new collection of work. Loaded with fiddle and steel guitar solos, traditional country storytelling, and Jinks strong vocals, After The Fire is the work of a man who knows who he is, and it’s a man who is at the top of his creative game.
The opening trio of songs on After The Fire include “Ain’t A Train,” “Yesterday Again” and the title track “After A Fire.” The glorious steel guitar fills on “Yesterday Again” recall classic Merle Haggard balladry while the atmospheric and haunting melody of “Ain’t A Train” are backed with a stellar fiddle instrumental breakdown and an even more allegorical lyric. The title track is the kind of song any number of country artists would kill to have and works as a perfect album opener. Lyrical gems, like the one held within the chorus (“I’m not sure it’s prayer or if it’s plea, beggin’ and hoping for my sanity, you’re my first clean breath after the fire, you’re that cool drink of water my soul requires”), add depth and emotional weight to the entire project (a weight which shows up on “Someone To You."
“William And Wanda” tells a compelling story of a couple who are inseparable and the story actually turns out to be about something else completely. In an album mostly about life and reflection, “One Good Decision” feels like an outlier and for many it would be but upon listening closer to the honky tonker’s lyrics, it’s actually a song with a strong message about commitment and avoiding the ills of the road, no matter what those ills may be. After releasing this record on October 11, 2019, Cody actually has chosen to release a follow-up project, The Wanting, one week later. Even if Cody ends up competing with himself for sales and attention, the talent he possesses is that which few artists possess in 2019 and we’re all the better for him choosing to release a cohesive collection of songs like After The Fire.