Gerry Cinnamon – The Bonny
Gerry Cinnamon, known to his Ma as Gerard Crosbie, is a 35-year-old Glaswegian who has had an extraordinary rise to success: the first man to sell out a stadium on word of mouth alone. That in itself almost renders reviews meaningless. The fact that this album reached number one was met with a shrug of a headline in the Scottish Sun: “Numbers mean nothing to me”. All he cares about is that people are belting out the songs and enjoying themselves.
The artist has chosen not to engage with the press and the sniffy reviews complaining that he isn’t Bob Dylan or Ed Sheeran prove him right in that decision. Guardian commenters claiming that Laura Marling and Sufjan Stevens do the folk troubadour thing better are missing the point: the most affecting music is not enjoyed with a Rolodex of comparisons bubbling through the mind; it just speaks to people.
Cinnamon’s music does not have densely layered productions, it’s not odd or mysterious, none of his song titles have brackets or conspicuously odd characters. It’s one man, his guitar, pedal loop, harmonica and his accent. This is old fashioned, straightforward songwriting. His voice is an unstructured rasp and the lyrics are by no means groundbreaking and can jar: on Canter he sings “You know it could be a canter/ If you were a wee bit less of a wanker”. It’s not Wordsworth here but it sets out his MO, and there is something satisfying about hearing “more” as “muir” as he is true to his dialect. There is a little more insight on the pithy line from the same number: “You’ll never be a king when you’re acting like a pawn”. The song itself displays the complex finger-plucking that is the motif of the album.
On War Song Solider, the dark blue chorus is not groundbreaking, but it’s haunting and the mouth organ is effective. Sun Queen is the standout track on the album, a downbeat love song with some sweet lyrics – “I carved her name into a sunbeam cos she’s my sun queen” – and a dig at the wannabes: “boy’s got soul but he must have misplaced it”.
There is something soothing about the sound and the simple, heartfelt sentiment. This sort of music may not be fashionable but it feels good. It holds two fingers up to artifice and snobbery. It’s a brave reviewer that tells a Glaswegian what they should listen to. And judging by his success, they’re not listening anyway.
Photo: Paul Gallagher
The Bonny is released on 17th April 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Gerry Cinnamon – The Bonny’s website here.
Watch the video for Sun Queen here: