Everybody loves a local legend, but is the Scot’s success limited by his nicheness?
Say what you want about Gerry Cinnamon, but his evident popularity illustrates the undying demand for simple, stripped-back guitar music in an age where rock ‘n’ roll appears to be sinking in a sea of saturated blandness. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other worthy artists who are demonstrating that there’s still soul left in modern music; it’s just that most of them don’t break the charts. My first experience of Gerry Cinnamon was on a sunny afternoon at TRNSMT in 2018. Much to my surprise, Gerry’s afternoon set had amassed a crowd similar to the size one would expect to see from a headliner, and of course the atmosphere was absolutely stellar. The crowd truly made the performance, as every song was accompanied by thousands of chanting voices, embodying the sense of community at the heart of gig culture.
Arguably, the crux of Cinnamon’s success lies within his ability to capture the community of a cult following through speaking to his listeners with authentic lyrics. Forgive me for using the word ‘relatable’ when describing his songs. Gerry doesn’t try to mask the meaning behind his lyrics and candidly details familiar experiences that resonate with his listeners. You could easily imagine one of Gerry’s songs as an accompaniment to your night out, or further, as the soundtrack to an entire chapter of your life. There is no fourth wall dividing Gerry from his fans – he comes across as any other local you could meet down the pub with a guitar and a few stories to tell. This is definitely aided by his decision to sing in a Scottish accent, a rarity which adds to the feel of authenticity in his singing.
All that being said, I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m a fan of Gerry Cinnamon. Whilst I appreciate the magnitude of his achievements so far, and have witnessed how strongly people feel about him, his music doesn’t do anything for me personally. My favourite songs are Sometimes and Kampfire Vampire, upbeat stompers tinged with a sense of melancholy. However, I can’t help but cringe every time his most popular song, Belter, is played. Furthermore, whilst I enjoyed his TRNSMT performance, I think the novelty of the experience would have worn off had he been on any longer than thirty-five minutes or so.
He has announced a show at Hampden having only released one album, Erratic Cinematic, back in 2017. Normally, you would expect an artist to have a larger discography before announcing a show of such calibre – and he’ll certainly need more songs. As far as wondering whether he’ll be a legend or not, the answer is that he is already a local legend, but I’m sceptical as to whether he’ll have the same impact outside the UK. Then again, I think Gerry is happy with the loyalty of his diehard fan base at home.