STANDING at the entrance to the Glasgow Barrowland ballroom, with cars rushing by and a grey sky threatening rain, Jim Gellatly warns me to take care when crossing the road. The DJ brings this unlit building and its sleeping neon sign to life as he tells me about its heady days as a dance hall in 1930s, its closure and refurbishment in the 1960s, and how it became a legendary venue, name-checked by bands such as Oasis and Metallica as one of their favourite venues in the world to play.

Gellatly is the narrator of the Glasgow Music Tour app. With the rise in popularity of similar apps such as Detour, PocketGuide and Sunday Drive, there is a new freedom to guided tours. You don't have to strain your ears or be rushed on to the next exhibit. Moving at your own pace with the ability to listen again to distinctly segmented sections of audio, the app is designed for anyone interested in the musical history of this Unesco City of Culture. It also has a slideshow of images, corresponding to important areas as I walk, my footsteps shadowed by a clear blue arrow occupying the on-screen map.

We begin in George Square at the Robert Burns statue to a soundtrack of acoustic music. I am told the Bard's work still inspires “romantics, revolutionaries and musicians” today. We are off to an informative and atmospheric start. Clearly this tour won't simply be a list of popular venues and visiting bands but rather an insightful history of Glasgow's cultural significance.

With 39 individual stops and four hours of audio, the guide is perhaps not to be experienced in just one day, unless you feel particularly fit. It offers a broad look at Glasgow's most important venues and musically significant locations, sprawling all the way from “Scotland's largest built public music venue”, the Hydro, “down dark and narrow alleys” to venues such as the hidden gem Stereo.

Gellatly informs me Stereo occupies the basement of the building Charles Rennie Macintosh designed for the Daily Record Printing Works in 1901, making insightful remarks regarding the “Art Deco exterior, decorated with white glazed bricks and contrasting blue and green glazed bricks”.

The tour continues in this fashion, breathing a new lease of life into these locations – their history, conception and cultural significance.

As the clouds dissipate and the sun creeps through, I head west along St Vincent Street, from Stereo towards King Tut's. Gellatly says this “unassuming basement entrance” conceals a “not very well kept secret”. Run by DF Concerts, the promoters behind T in the Park, this venue has played host to many bands who went on to became famous, including the White Stripes, Blur, Pulp and Radiohead, but is probably most famous as the location where Alan McGee discovered Oasis.

I wander inside, passing the “famous jukebox”, and am persuaded to enter the bathroom. Gellatly reads the Hunter S Thompson quote on the urinal before me. “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.”

Gellatly tells me something I had never known, despite being a long-time fan of Thompson. This was an intentional misquote, originally intended for the TV industry but taken in “true gonzo journalism style” and reapplied to the music industry. The quote still rings true, as Gellatly evokes a modern history of the classic acts who have played here while I check the walls for upcoming acts.

Leaving Tut's, the app guides me north, with the sun now shining across Sauchiehall Street. Approaching Nice 'n' Sleazy, Gellatly's now familiar voice interjects the walk. With an “East Berlin buzz about it”, this venue has a “stylish, well worn and knowing look, a cult institution in every sense” and a “basement suiting the music and cultural vibe of the bar upstairs”. His words bear true as I head towards the steps, the music of Belle and Sebastian barely audible behind the guiding voice. Having been a regular performer at the venue's Monday-night acoustic jam sessions, I nod in agreement while heading downstairs as he praises its reputation. The basement is indeed “just right for bands beginning to make their name”, opening its retro doors to new acts almost every night of the week.

A short walk from Nice 'n' Sleazy and the blue-and-white towering structure of the O2 ABC comes into view. As I approach, Gellatly recounts the Art Deco building's colourful history, its journey from a “skating ring, a circus, a dance hall” to its current incarnation, which houses two venues, five bars and one of the world's largest disco balls. It is one of the most recognisable live music locations in Scotland.

The ABC, however, began and almost ended life as a cinema. Gellatly explains that Glasgow used to be known as Cinema City, boasting more than 110 picture houses in the 1930s – more per head than any other city in the world. One of the first buildings in Glasgow to be supplied with electricity, the ABC was where Glasgow's first film showing took place in 1896. Like the other locations on this tour, I will view the ABC in a new light next time I go to a gig there, wondering who might have been in my place, spectating at a very different show, over a century ago.

After a fair bit of walking I find myself in Finnieston, where the tour concludes. Upon my arrival, I consider what a fine job Gellatly and the team at Walking Heads have done in balancing an informative, whimsical and invigorating off-the-beaten-track tour of the city's finest attributes, while offering quirky insights unavailable on other guided tours.

I watch as the west end patrons lean back in their seats, appreciating a spot in the sun outside “one of Glasgow's best-kept secrets”, the Ben Nevis. A focus of “healthy competition” among folk musicians while “boasting one of the widest malt whisky selections in the city”, this pub offers regular, spontaneous jam sessions.

Stepping inside, I browse the walls, decorated with Scottish memorabilia, as Gellatly describes how each historic element tells a unique story. With tired feet but a lively mind, I think I might just follow Galletly's final suggestion of cultural immersion: “Take time to enjoy the rare selection of over 100 whiskies.”

Whether you are a music buff or a musician or simply curious about the city's artistic conception, the Glasgow Music Tour is worthy of attention from tourists and Glaswegians alike. Signing off, Gellatly adds that there will be updates to the app with new stops. This tour, like the music scene in Glasgow, truly is a “never ending story”.