Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tell Me How You Really Feel



During 2015 (95), 2016 (95) and 2017(93) I wrote a total of 283 blog posts. The prolonged spell of good weather we have been experiencing in Glasgow has had a huge impact on my blog writing. In a determined effort to try and keep to circa 90 blog posts a year I'm going to write a string of micro-blogs on my favourite albums of 2018 to date.

I'll start with Tell Me How You Really Feel by Courtney Barnet.

Barnett's way with words, her storytelling, melodies, guitar sounds and jams with her band are captivating. All of this reminds me a little bit of Evan Dando and The Lemonheads, but Barnett is no copycat. She is very unique in her confidence, delivery and talent.

With a background in a couple of garage grunge bands, Barnett isn't afraid to turn her guitars up, but she can also produce gorgeous tender moments, the breakdown in City Looks Pretty being one example. Barnett and her band can also really get into a groove and make everything flow.

Vocal melodies sound like they are sometimes created off the cuff but always with ease and with a hook and their are some brilliant guitar riffs to go with them. Charity is one of my favourites from the album.


Barnett's 2015 debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit is outstanding. Her style and humour really shine through. I'm gutted I missed her at the Barrowland in June. Fear not, Courtney and her band are on the road non-stop and return to Glasgow on 20th November to play the Academy.

I promised a micro blog - so here it is. Check this brilliant artist out via all the usual sources.






Thursday, 5 July 2018

The rise and rise of Gerry Cinnamon

Pretty much everyone who was at TRNSMT on Saturday was at Gerry Cinnamon

The rise ..... and rise of Gerry Cinnamon fills me full of excitement, hope and wonder.

This guy isn't just ripping up the rulebook .... he isn't interested in it ... won't have read it ... won't care about it ... Gerry is doing things his way, playing by his own rules, keeping to his strong beliefs and it is working.

Gerry's rise was highlighted, underlined and set in bold at the TRNSMT festival that took place at the weekend. Cinnamon performed to the largest crowd of the weekend in glorious sunshine..... unsigned....with no marketing budget for his album.....virtually no airplay (come in Radio Scotland!!!!).... pause and consider that.

My spine tingled when Gerry approached the mic after prolonged applause to introduce his song Kampfire Vampire, viewing the crowd he said;

Look at this, look at it, it might never happen again, remember this day, best days of your life
This is a song for any young musicians kicking about, anybody on the circuit trying to start out
Don't feel the need to pull your pants down to anyone in the industry


The told me it wouldn't work

They told me I couldn't sing with a Scottish accent
They told me I couldn't record it myself
They told me I couldn't
Look what happened, know what I mean?
Do what you want man, see whats in there (points to heart), that's all that matters


The view from the sound desk for Gerry Cinnamon

Gerry then played his heart out, tearing through the song and firing out his lyrics dreams, bullsh*t scenes, rules were made to be broken

And oh how this young guy is breaking the rules; upsetting the old school, the cliques and the 'scene'. Cinnamon is making his own rules and with the help of his exceptionally passionate fanbase, he is creating a new scene.

It really is quite incredible. As a seasoned music fan I've never seen anything like it. In the 00's did see some bands like Artic Monkeys breaking through via MySpace, but they went on to get signed to a major label pretty quickly and get sucked into the machine. Of course they have gone on to become one of the biggest bands in the planet, but what hoops have they had to jump through along the way? 

And things have changed, MySpace has died and there are plenty of new ways to work as an artist or band that don't involve selling your soul. Cinnamon is proving that with the way he is working. Word of mouth is still the best form of promotion and with Social Media and online streaming, word of mouth is spreading like wildfire.

That word of mouth is coming from Cinnamon's incredible fans. Seriously, catch his TRNSMT 2018 performance on the iPlayer or read on to view his 2017 performance. Go on YouTube for fan footage or look on Twitter. Gerry Cinnamon is connecting with people in a way that I don't think I've ever seen before - certainly not from a Scottish artist. 


I don't doubt for a second that labels are not monitoring this situation. They will smell the possibility of money. Who is this young lad playing to virtually every punter at TRNSMT? Gerry and his tight team may well be fielding offers in the future, they may have done already. Does he need a label? Does he want one?

As a fan, I really don't think he does. He can record and release music to a dedicated (and growing) fanbase and play festivals and sold out shows across the country.

We'll get back to TRNSMT 2018 in a moment.

Gerry had performed last year. Hi social media posts from that time really indicate how important it was, fuelling his natural fire and taking hom on to the next level. You can watch his whole TRNSMT 2017 set that was filmed by the BBC below.


A lot has happened in the year that followed TRNSMT 2017. Gerry released his debut album. Yes that's right, the show and response above happened while Gerry had only released one single!  By the end of 2017  there were two sold out nights at the Barrowland Ballroom and scenes of Cinnamon-mania across Scotland.

The doubters who said people wouldn't get it outwith Glasgow were left looking dumb as Cinnamon strode into 2018 playing sold-out shows across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Shows were sold out, venues were upgraded and those shows were sold out as well. Someone in Lisburn even captured Gerry as a mural - insane.


You only need to listen to Cinnamon's debut Erratic Cinematic and watch him live to understand why the artist and his music are generating a buzz all over the place.

Gerry writes from the heart, from experience, with honesty, soul, humour and with no drama or effects. He lays himself and his songs bare across his debut album. A rich and soulful voice, packed and racked with emotion, an acoustic guitar, drum machine, mouth organ and loop pedal.

The way he tells his stories, shares his thoughts, regrets, dreams and memories is really clever and yet really simple. Cinnamon tells it like it is and he tells it from his heart. Cinnamon connects with people, he touches people.

Diamonds In The Mud is verse after verse of memory with real emotion attached to it and a clear love of Glasgow; Sometimes pokes fun at himself with the line I'm not the ideal person to be lecturing on life before going on to talk about things he has learned; What Have You Done is Cinnamon questioning himself and his life, being a messed up circle in a room of squares

Belter always bring a smile to my face, but then I totally feel it when Gerry sings about having been stung a few times so he doesn't let anyone in. He has that ability to make you smile, make you think and most importantly - to make you feel something, something you can relate to.

Lullaby mixes demons with a beautiful tender chorus; Fortune Favours The Bold has a 60's style shoo-dop intro that was captured perfectly by the TRNSMT audience with Gerry laying his beliefs out clear - can I buy back my soul when it's gone?

Keysies remains my personal favourite. Such a beautiful song that evokes such strong imagery and memories of my own childhood. All in 90-seconds! Gerry's voice is incredible on this one.

Cinnamon's songs are social, caring, funny, loving and in the case of album closer War TV - fiercely political. Is anyone else commenting on the world in song in such a frank way?

I'm no' scared of dying I'll fight any man
I might no' be the strongest but I'll do what I can
And I'm no' religious but if God's got a plan
Then I don't think it's bombing in a far away land

Cinnamon-mania is set to continue with tickets for 4 huge Glasgow shows going on sale tomorrow. 2-nights at the Barrowland Ballroom and 2-nights at the Academy. Might need to add the Hydro!

As Gerry comments in many of his online posts the bonny is burning.

Get involved. This is a talented and soulful young Scottish artist who is blazing a new trail. This is street poetry, this is punk, this is soul, this is DIY, this is special, this is Gerry Cinnamon.