Guest POst By: Doug Palmer
A few weekend ago, my wife and I took the 2.5 hour drive down to Boston to see Cody Jinks, Paul Cauthen, and Sunny Sweeney. I have seen A LOT of shows in my day, from intimate 100-person venues (My preference) to sold-out stadiums, and I have not experienced anything quite like what I saw that night.
Cody Jinks and his crew are tapping into a vein of music fan that is technologically savvy, hip, and most importantly: Young. I am in my mid-thirties and I felt like I was one of the oldest folks at this show, this crowd was ripe with 20-somethings of all walks of life and sub-cultures.
I saw very few Hippies, and only a couple of Cowboys, but I saw everyone else that “Don’t care about songs that sell”; Frat brothers, boot-clad sorority sisters, flannel-shirted country boys, hipsters, music geeks, biker boys, and everything in between. Now don’t take anything this Merrell-shoe-clad, 30-something-dad just wrote as generalizations or poking fun, I genuinely enjoyed seeing all these different folks come together over their love of music, and I even met a few new people. There was an air of brotherhood at this show, like we are all in on this little secret, and eating it up before everyone else jumps in for a bite.
On the subject of brotherhood, this article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the “Flockers”, the nearly 15,000-strong group of Cody Jinks fans that can be found on the Facebook page “BLACKSHEEP - A Flock Of Cody Jinks Fans”. I saw many of their signature shirts at the show, and met a few of their members. These folks are die-hards and the kind of group that helps grow an artist by word-of-mouth, arguably the most important form of advertisement for any growing independent artist.
It almost feels like Cody Jinks is just too good at what he is doing, that he is this perfectly timed Country Music Jesus that is about to lead the next wave of country music fan into the 2020’s, and that there must be a force behind him propelling him toward stardom. Well that is partially of true, he couldn’t possibly do it on his own, being on the road all day and playing all night. That said, these folks don’t get in the corner of just anyone, they have to know they are helping raise up a true talent.
He IS good at what he is doing, and he does have one of the best marketing firms for independent artists working with him. That said, his real hook is resonating with young folks who can put any music they want at their fingertips in seconds, don’t listen to the radio, and are tired of the static they are being served. It doesn’t matter who an artist is working with, this generation can turn it off with a swipe if it sucks. These folks just need to have access to the good stuff, and that is where these firms come in; Opening the door for a broader reach without hampering the artist’s style. They are allowing artist to make the records they want, keep their music rights, and if it’s good enough they will promote it for a reasonable, well-deserved piece of the pie.
Something else you will notice with these growing regional acts that are breaking out is sponsorships; It costs a lot of fuel, food, beer, and hotel rooms to do these huge tours. I’ve never seen it in writing, but Cody and friends seems to be converting a group of young folks to a certain brand of brews, know the world over for being the drink of choice for a generation starting to head toward that big concert in the sky. If that bothers you, you might want to sit down and think about what it costs to do these shows night after night, and just how cheap that last Cody Jinks concert ticket was. We saw 3 great artists, including Cody, for $25 a ticket, if that means that between songs I have to watch him drink his perfectly held beer, with the logo facing me, I’ll take it.
As I watched him play a nearly flawless show, including singing a song with each of the opening acts, I couldn’t help but think about where those Billy Gibbons-esque facial locks are going to take us next.
Cody has the music, the look, and the momentum to be the next great country outlaw, hell he might already be. He is making the music he wants to make, working with the folks he wants to work with, and doing it all in a time where there is finally the potential to make a good living doing the thing you love most, without being a slave to a corporation.
Whether or not you want to believe Cody is the next big indie outlaw or that he is just another good country artist, the one thing you can be sure of is that we will be seeing more of him. His shows will start to sell out at larger venues, more and more people will come around to his brand of music, and he will help propel the careers of other highly deserving artists like him.
I love this independent artist movement going on right now, and I hope it keeps up, the fans deserve better than what they have been served by radio for the last couple decades. It truly is a great time to be a music fan.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!