Though Chris Cornell will always be regarded as one of rock’s finest singers and frontmen, more than a few of his songs translate well into straightforward country covers. Such is the case with Audioslave’s “I Am the Highway,” which Texas traditionalist Cody Jinks performed in tribute today following the news of Cornell’s death.
A loner’s lament that appears on the supergroup’s self-titled 2002 debut, “I Am the Highway” was released as the album’s fourth single and brought the band a Number Two Mainstream Rock hit. “Friends and liars, don’t wait for me / Cause I’ll get on all by myself,” he sings, evoking the lonely, rambling life so often romanticized by country performers.
Jinks, a former metal band leader with a touch of grunge rock’s throaty purr in his voice, keeps it simple: voice and guitar, letting the song do the work. There’s an eerie quality to the video, with Jinks obscured behind dark sunglasses and backlighting casting him mostly in silhouette. Hearing Jinks growl his way through the lines, working his way up to an angry, near-shouted finish, it’s clear what a profound influence Cornell’s work had on his own music.
“We lost a great one today,” Jinks tweeted, along with the link to his cover.
Cornell, who enjoyed success as frontman for both Soundgarden and Audioslave, committed suicide on May 17th. He was 52.