Amarillo-born Cody Jasper may wear boots covered with Texas soil, but his rock ’n’ roll passions stretch way beyond its boundaries, influenced by characters named Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Waylon Jennings. In fact, Jasper’s love for Waylon led him directly to Waylon’s son, who showed him how to graft outlaw country together with rock and turn it into audio dynamite. “If it wasn’t for Shooter’s music,” Jasper says, “I would still be trying to decide if I was country or rock ’n’ roll.” Fortunately, he doesn’t have to. On Cody Jasper (Feb. 18, 2014), his debut album, the 24-year-old singer and guitarist delivers a hot mix of southern-infused rock, blues and soul, peppered with outlaw country, fanned by guitar-god flames and impassioned by the gospel heart of Stax’s finest. He keeps a little Texas tradition with him, however, in the form of a 1959 Epiphone Zephyr tube amp that belonged to his great-grandfather, who played guitar with Bob Wills.
Jasper, 24, who moved to Colorado while still in his teens to join rock band The Wildbills, toured the states as their vocalist and lead guitarist before moving to Austin. The album track “Someday” dates back to that period; all but two of the album’s cuts are his own. “Black Cadillac” and “The Deal is Done” were written with Nick Jay, who produced the album and contributed bass, keyboards and backing vocals. Working at Nest Recording in Dripping Springs, outside of Austin, Jasper bottled lightning on songs such as the slide-driven “Cherry Pie,” the aching ballad “Mona Lisa” and the sweaty crunch-rocker “Evil Woman.”