JJ Gilmour

Posted on Monday 13th April 2015 00:00 by FreckFest

JJ 'Jinky' Gilmour made a welcome return to the HAC on April 10th - a venue that is fast-becoming his spiritual home. A genius singer/songwriter with the fast-paced wit of a stand-up comedian, Jinky is sure to sell out sold out, again.

I was driving down to Irvine today and I thought, Ayrshire is a great place to live. You’ve got it all. You do! The sun’s out, Arran’s in full view and you’ve got these great wee gigs going on here in Irvine. It’s beautiful, it really is! Who wouldnae want to live here?!?”

Sometimes you don’t always appreciate what you’ve got, even when it’s right under your nose. Those that are quick to dismiss our wee town could do well to stop and take stock of Jinky’s words.

JJ Gilmour is the silver-haired, silver-tongued, ex-Silencer from Lanarkshire, 50% raconteur, 50% wreck on tour but 100% under-rated genius. A gifted singer with an ear for melody and melancholy, coupled with a razor-sharp wit and turn of phrase, he, like the New Town in which you sit right now, is somewhat under-appreciated. Sometimes, yes, you don’t appreciate what you’ve got, even when it’s right under your sniffy hooter.

Had Jinky been plying his trade in London’s swinging hub rather than the musical backwaters of Ayrshire, France and Norway, or have been seen with all the right people at all the right gigs, he could have given someone like Richard Ashcroft or Noel Gallagher a run for their money. Much of it is down to luck and Jinky’s had his fair share of the bad kind, as he’s more than happy to tell you between songs.

I wrote a song for Kenny Rogers. He loved it. He recorded it. He’s still to release it…


JJ’s songs are terrific; soulful, heartfelt and coated in the sort of melodies that cause hearts to swell and pools of tears to form in the corners of even the hardest of eyes. Just ask prize-winning boxer Ryan Brawley who, I’m certain, was wiping away a wee trickle as Me & You wafted over the crowd and into the air at the end of a first-class set.

The full house inside the HAC was treated to what we agreed was Jinky’s best ever Freckfest show. It was a bit stoppy-starty, with a straggle of latecomers interrupting the flow for the first few songs. Regardless of which part of the song he was at though, JJ would stop in full voice, turn towards them and welcome them in. Then, as they took their seats, he’d berate them with a torrent of good-humoured abuse. It was all very amusing, especially for those who’d seen Jinky perform before and knew what to expect. 

The laid-back set felt very impromptu, but it was clear from Jinky’s choice of songs that this was going to be a career-spanning ‘best of’, liberally peppered with Silencers tracks, his most-popular solo tracks and a trio of covers that would be delivered in reverential silence. His take on David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ was worth the admission alone.

Mid-set, Irvine’s own Sean Kennedy was invited to join Jinky on-stage and Sean obliged by taking the mic on a superb stripped-back take on Jinky’s own ‘It Won’t Go Away’. Later on, 10 year old Jamie Orr from Cumnock was given his big moment in the spotlight by being encouraged up to sing a version of The Silencer’s ‘Cellar Of Dreams’, accompanied by a grinning Jinky on guitar, with his trusted sidekick Phil filling out the trickier parts on piano.

Those seeing JJ for the first time will make sure they’re never late for another of his shows again. And there’s no doubt they will be back – Jinky is a real word-of-mouth artist, once seen, never forgotten. The audience in Irvine has been slowly growing since we began putting him on. It’s great seeing regular faces in the crowd, but it’s also pleasing to see some new ones in amongst them too.  

You can also pop on over to Plain Or Pan and read all about Jinky's favourite records.


All photos (c) Paul Camlin. Don't steal, or we'll send the boys round...



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