‘The Bonny‘ is the second album from Scottish-born Gerry Cinnamon. Known for his live performances, Cinnamon has created a large following of loyal fans who belt out the lyrics to his songs in a mass singalong at every show. Understandably gutted by delays to live shows this year, Cinnamon remains practical and comments “Anyone that knows me knows all I care about is folk having a class night and getting home safe”. This realism is felt throughout the album. Melodies are simple. Tracks are pretty stripped back mostly featuring Cinnamon, his guitar and occasional harmonica. It’s the simplicity that makes this really work.
The crackle of flames marks the beginning of title track ‘The Bonny’. The image of the bonfire is used to encourage us to fan the flames and grow the fire – dream big – for the people you love. Lyrically it’s tinged with sadness “You can build the bonny … for the people that you loved and lost, that you never got to tell goodbye”.
‘Canter’ reels you in – it begins simply enough, Cinnamon’s guitar is fast and the lyrics are delivered directly with a bit of an edge. The message is about making your life matter. The tempo is stepped up to match the urgency. It feels like a song of three parts as it ends with an almost anthemic quality to the lyrics – easy then to imagine this being sung by a crowd at a show. There’s probably great joy to be had when thousands spit out the line “You know it could be a canter, if you were just a wee bit less of a wanker”.
There are some different styles on this album. ‘Mayhem’ is like a mariachi band joined Cinnamon. The result is a fun sounding slightly disjointed track. At the other extreme ‘Where We’re Going’ is reminiscent of angsty indie-pop in the 90s (the intro sounds like The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’).
The album explores themes of light and dark, happiness and sadness. The shifts between upbeat tracks and more reflective pieces like ‘Head in the Clouds’, where Cinnamon explores the insomnia he suffered, work well and serve to present a balanced album.