2019 seems like a lifetime ago right now. Going to a gig, going to a festival feels like a world away. But last summer when an unassuming Glaswegian crooner stepped up to a massive, massive crowd in the John Peel tent, Glastonbury’s worst kept unsigned secret caught fire. Gerry Cinnamon‘s sheer brilliance for finger-plucking, strum-a-long anthems such as ‘Sometimes’, ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Belter’ resonated right to the back of the tent and beyond.
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That landmark moment not only saw Gerard Crosbie’s following UK tour sell out in minutes but also tickets for his first stadium sized homecoming show at Hampden Park gone in hours. When fellow working class hero Liam Gallagher took Cinnamon under his parka for a heady tour down under, it looked like the beginning of the rest of the troubadour’s life. Then, unfortunately, the coronavirus tsunami ensued and turned everyone’s lives upside down.
While many artists put their albums on hold, the likes of Dua Lipa and Laura Marling soldiered on and gave us some much needed escape in these times of self-isolation. Cinnamon too, took the decision to stay true to his word and drop his new album ‘The Bonny’. “It’s probably not smart to release during a lockdown when the shops are closed and everyone’s isolating but no chance I’m letting folk down,” shrugged the singer-songwriter. “Never gave a fuck about numbers anyway not gny start now. Album’s out 17th April.”
If his self funded 2017 breakthrough debut ‘Erratic Cinema’ showed a burst of early promise, ‘The Bonny’ (slang for bonfire) sees the boy firing on all cylinders.
Many will already be familiar with foot-stomping opener ‘Canter’ and its thumping middle section kicked off by Cinnamon crying: “Here comes the rainnnnn” and that all too familiar line: “You know it could be a canter / If you were just a wee bit less of a wanker“. The party brakes are quickly put on hold though as the introspective ‘War Song Soldier’ follows. Written about a guarded “dark time in his life” this harmonica blues driven number catches the crooner at his bleakest and most powerful as he cries: “I can start me a war / Be a war song soldier / I can stand on my head / I can walk on water“.
Much of the album continues along this bittersweet path, with nods to both Bob Dylan and Neil Young. For every anthem (‘Where We’re Going’, ‘Canter’, ‘Sun Queen’) there’s a sobering sad song most notably break up ballad ‘Roll The Credits’, a tragic cinematic love song that offers little hope. The lyrics: “Roll the credits there’s no happy ending / The monsters got over the wall and tore us apart” seem tragically apt and poignant for the times we’re living in.
Thankfully the outstanding ‘Where We’re Going’ reminds us of better times. A perfect partner to ‘Erratic Cinema’s ‘Sometimes’, this fist punching festival anthem in waiting is easily the best song on the album and the track that’ll constantly be on repeat on lockdown playlists. Elsewhere, the menacing Spaghetti Western infused ‘Mayhem’, shows how far the Glaswegian’s song writing skills have come. Opening with a lo-fi mariachi strum, the track bursts into a thumping widescreen banger.
Sadly the last couple of songs on ‘The Bonny’ disappointingly tail off and almost feel tagged on. Thankfully there’s more than enough on here to help us dream of better times ahead.
Release date: April 17
Record label: LR Records