British folk singer Jay McAllister (Beans on Toast) rose to prominence out of the UK folk scene in 2005. His songwriting openly deals with the topics of politics, drugs and love. Jay’s last (and 8th) album ‘Down the pub’ focused, amongst other things, on the importance of a pub to the local community.
We caught up with Beans to discuss the Down the pub tour, and his future appearance at the Willowman festival.
Damian: Hi beans we saw you a couple of years ago supporting Frank Turner and you were great
Beans on Toast (BOT): Thank you. Funnily enough I supported him last night at the Roundhouse in London and he was excellent. I’m a bit fuzzy today (laughing)
Damian: You’re in middle of your ’Down the pub’ tour at the moment. How’s that been going?
BOT: Really enjoying it thank you. It’s mostly to do with the fact that I like pubs and I get to go to a lot of them around the country. It’s been a lot of fun.
Damian: Great. Where did the concept of touring pubs come from?
BOT: A song on the last album is called “Down the pub” and it sparked the idea. I try to have a theme for each tour. Last year was small town celebration, this year its pubs.I really like touring and wanted to find some weird and wonderful venues around the country. I tend to tour larger cities most years around December and then smaller places around May.
Damian: It’s a great idea. Sometimes when you look at the tour listings it feels like a lot of artists follow the same path and play the same venues. It’s nice to see different venues and places on gig listings.
BOT: I agree. And playing pubs means that sometimes it’s easier to persuade your friends to go to a show if they’ve never heard of the artist. You can almost say ”come on he’s playing at the bloomin’ Noals alms” and your friends may be a bit more likely to pop out to the local, whether they like the artist or not.
Damian: And the next gig up in our region will be the Willowman festival
BOT: Yeah that’s right. I can’t wait for that one as it’s a great line up and a few of my friends and favourite artists are playing including Funke and the Two Tone Baby who’ve just played on one of the pub dates and I’m a big fan of there’s.
Damian: So you’ll be hanging out at the show?
BOT: If time allows then yeah definitely. I try to see as much live music as possible so with this bill in particular I’ll be spending as much time as possible catching up with friends and checking out some new music. Time permitting I’ll stick around and get stuck in.
Damian: Great. And after the festivals anything planned?
BOT: There will be some new stuff this year. I tend to stick to a well-worn path each year so as soon the festivals are finished I’ll be back in the studio, record a new album and then be out touring it again. (Laughing) Round and round we go.
Damian: And your reputation as an artist who focuses on contemporary issues must mean that you’ve got plenty of inspiration at the moment?
BOT: That’s right yeah I’ve got a song called “Please don’t let this woman run the country” (laughing) so there’s certainly some strong ideas.
Damian: We can’t comment but how’s about we catch up after the election at Willowman?
BOT: You’re on
Beans on Toast’s last album ‘Down the Pub’ is out now. The Willowman festival is scheduled for the 15th -18th June in North Yorkshire. Tickets start from £70.