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Keep It Honest: How Gerry Cinnamon Became A Cult Hero

Thursday, 05 December 2019 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Luke Joyce

Gerry Cinnamon. Know the name?

You probably should. 

He recently sold out Hampden Park in Glasgow in a few hours—a stadium that has hosted everyone from the Rolling Stones through AC/DC, Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen in the past. 

But you probably don’t.

Back in the summer, following a successful afternoon on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury, NME’s Dan Stubbs called him “the grassroots phenomenon the media doesn’t want you to like”. Now, I haven’t been invited to be part of any conspiracy against Cinnamon but, in fairness, part of his appeal is perhaps found in getting to tell media types (like me) where to go. 

Cinnamon’s second LP ‘The Bonny’ is expected next spring, following up 2017’s UK top 20 success ‘Erratic Cinematic’. Aside from his date at Hampden, his tour plans will take him to Birmingham's Resorts World Arena, Cardiff Castle, Brighton Centre, Sheffield's FlyDSA Arena, Alexandra Palace in London, Manchester Arena, Cork's Irish Independent Park, Ormeau Park in Belfast and Dublin's Malahide Castle. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on December 6.

He’s filling big rooms left right and centre, and he’s doing it without walking the accepted paths and without the usual outlets being part of the conversation. His formula is remarkably simple and entirely effective. Here’s what you might call the Gerry Cinnamon template for becoming a cult hero. 

Lose the frills

In the early days, Cinnamon’s music was pretty bare bones: it was essentially guitar and voice. But that doesn’t mean you can phone it in. One of his major breakthroughs came with a set on the King Tut’s stage at TRNSMT in Glasgow—a BBC broadcast captured his lightning in a bottle approach: sun, trackie top, foot stamping out the rhythm and a crowd yelling along. It was just him and an acoustic up there but the melodies and attitude were pogo-ready. Songs like Lullaby, from ‘Erratic Cinematic’, exemplified this trait, and the title track of ‘The Bonny’ still has that energy.

Keep it local

Hampden Park is home turf, and Cinnamon is the latest in a long line of artists to have parlayed local notoriety into something massive. From the Stereophonics at Morfa Stadium in Swansea 20 years ago to the Courteeners at Heaton Park in Manchester this summer, keeping close to your roots is a good shout if your gospel is at its best when preached to people who have a frame of reference to understand it. 

Keep it honest

Cinnamon sings like he speaks, chucking in Glaswegian slang and a bucketload of colloquial colour, and he’s writing to inspire people like him. “Say, when you’re at a party, or you’re sitting on your tod at home with your headphones in, you’re looking for that song that fills a wee gap in you, a wee space in your chest,” he recently told the Daily Record. “Write that song. Because nobody else is going to write it for you.”

Let word of mouth do the talking

The fact that Cinnamon doesn’t do much press (and doesn’t really have any representation to facilitate that) has almost become a sort of press in itself. His YouTube videos are stacked with comments from folks who have clicked by accident, or Shazamed his music in a pub, or wandered into a field at a festival. Something about him chimes with people, and when it does it’s a rapid courtship. Here’s one commenter describing winding up at Cinnamon’s music through a wrong turn on YouTube: “Best mistake i ever made.”

Take your chances

In recent years Cinnamon has toured with Liam Gallagher and the Courtneeners, which is smart because it’s hard to think of two fanbases who’d be more attuned to his charms. He generally plays live a lot, and he successfully built on early momentum and buzz by adding extra dates at small venues before working his way up the ladder. Not for him a mask of exclusivity. In March 2018 he played two nights at the Garage in Aberdeen as part of a small Scottish tour. In a couple of weeks he’ll pitch up for two sold out dates at Glasgow's SSE Hydro Arena. In July 2020 he’s got Hampden Park in the diary. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. 

Gerry Cinnamon Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri December 20 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Sat December 21 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Fri May 29 2020 - BIRMINGHAM Resorts World Arena
Sat May 30 2020 - CARDIFF Cardiff Castle
Sun May 31 2020 - BRIGHTON Centre
Tue June 02 2020 - SHEFFIELD FlyDSA Arena
Thu June 04 2020 - LONDON Alexandra Palace
Sat June 06 2020 - MANCHESTER Arena
Fri June 19 2020 - CORK Irish Independent Park
Sat June 20 2020 - BELFAST Ormeau Park
Sun June 21 2020 - DUBLIN Malahide Castle
Sat July 18 2020 - GLASGOW Hampden Park National Stadium

Click here to compare & buy Gerry Cinnamon Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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