Album Review: Gerry Cinnamon - 'The Bonny'

A sudden rise to fame hasn’t fazed Gerry Cinnamon, who has excelled himself with a second album of crowd-pleasing belters (no pun intended!)

Gerry Crosbie, aka ‘Gerry Cinnamon’, has a quite remarkable story to tell. Hailing from the impoverished area of Castlemilk, Glasgow, in the last five years Cinnamon has gone from hosting a weekly open-mic night in a Glaswegian bar, to selling out 50,000+ seater Hampden Park within hours, all whilst remaining a fully independent artist with no press representation. Cinnamon is taking on the music establishment all by himself… and winning. His debut album Erratic Cinematic was funded by fans, and swiftly rose to the number 1 spot in the UK iTunes Chart, briefly outselling the likes of Ed Sheeran. The Bonny expertly tells the story of his meteoric rise, with inspirational messages spread through his distinctive Scottish accent and emotive but accessible lyrics.

The Bonny opens with fan favourite Canter, a folk-rock sing-along anthem known for igniting the crowd at live shows with a sharp change of pace in the second half of the song. Canter, The Bonny and What Have You Done (from Erratic Cinematic) tell three parts of the same story and are all written in the same key. Cinnamon reflects on the damage caused by his party lifestyle in What Have You Done, whilst in Canter he recognises that a more sensible approach ‘more than half the time’ would enable him to achieve great things in his life. The Bonny is the song of success, his dreams of building a great life and how it has become a reality.

"Reminiscent of The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, [Where We're Going] transports you to a bright summer’s day, lying on the grass underneath the trees."

Where We’re Going is the highlight of the album, with the dreamy acoustic guitar melody coming close to matching the pure beauty of Sometimes on Erratic Cinematic. Reminiscent of The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love, it transports you to a bright summer’s day, lying on the grass underneath the trees. This daydream-like, utopian vibe mirrors the lyrics that talk of escaping with a partner to a place where ‘this sh*t don’t matter’.

Six of the first seven songs on the album were pre-released, giving the first half of the LP a familiar feel for Cinnamon fans. However, the album finishes with a slower-paced and more mellow atmosphere, which takes a fair few listens to grasp. ‘Roll the credits, there’s no happy ending’ is a stark contrast to some of the jubilant lyrics in Sun Queen and the misleadingly named Dark Days. Written about the break-up of a relationship, Cinnamon says that Roll the Credits is “kinda like the classic Shakespearean tragedy just without all the fancy words”. This comment epitomises Cinnamon’s aim in music: to speak to the working-class from the heart.

Image credit: Paul Gallagher

It’s clear that Gerry Cinnamon is not to everyone’s taste. Just as his fan-base has exploded in recent years, so has his list of critics. His lyrics and songwriting have come under fire for their simplicity and perceived lack of skill, whilst there are claims that his songs use the same few chords and sound very similar; ‘overhyped’ being a word that is in constant circulation amongst critics. It is true that there are clear parallels between The Bonny and Erratic Cinematic, with most songs based upon a jabbing guitar which gets the foot tapping. Perhaps there’s more frequent Bob Dylan-inspired harmonica use on The Bonny in replacement of some of the whistling found in Erratic Cinematic, but the overall sound of both albums is very similar.

"For the moment, Cinnamon is riding the crest of a wave, having produced a second album that his fans will embrace."

The main question that Cinnamon has to answer as a one-man band with an acoustic guitar and a fairly limited vocal range is: where does he go from here? His third album will prove whether he deserves the hype and has the potential to be one of the key players in the indie scene, or whether fans start to lose interest and his popularity starts to wane. But for the moment, Cinnamon is riding the crest of a wave, having produced a second album that his fans will embrace, and he thoroughly deserves to enjoy the success of his rags-to-riches story.