Jay McAllister is an uncompromising UK based folk singer, better known to his fans as Beans on Toast. His uncompromising, down to earth style combined with reverent lyrics delivered with a sense of fun has won him legions of fans up and down the country. To date he has released 5 albums, appeared at numerous festivals, including several appearances at Glastonbury, and toured with his friend, collaborator and label mate Frank Turner.
2014 has been quite a year for Beans, he has played to his biggest audiences to date, he is currently out on a headlining tour which covers the length and breadth of the UK, he has become engaged to Lizzy Bee and today, 1st December sees the release of his 6th album ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’. The album, as is his tradition is released on his birthday.
McAllister has never shied away from difficult subjects and ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’ is no different in that respect. Sex, drugs, politics and social affairs all get a run out in his usual no-holds-barred style. He tackles the political agendas of UKIP & Russell Brand in ‘Whole Lot of Loving’ alongside his experiences of being shunted between London areas by ever-increasing gentrification-generated rent hikes (‘All I See Is Wagamama’) with his customary irreverent nous.
Whilst Beans has undoubtably kept his political edge and sense of fun ‘The Grand Scheme of Things’ does take a couple of interesting new turns. He shows his more tender side by expressing his love of Lizzy and of home life in ‘Lizzy’s Cooking’ and in ‘New Orleans Honeymoon’, an interesting turn for a man who regaled us with stories of recreational drug taking.
His touring in the USA has clearly influenced his sound on this album, several songs have a distinct Country feel, most notable in ‘Fuck you Nashville’ which tells the story of his experiences touring in the USA. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by this as Beans has always written about what he observes in his everyday life. This is amply demonstrated in the hilarious look at animal welfare in the ‘Chicken Song’. Make no mistake, it may be amusing but there is a very clear message about the dangers of modern farming methods.
‘The Grand Scheme of Things’ features and was produced by Sam Beer who taught Beans on Toast his first song on the guitar over eighteen years ago on a camping holiday in Spain. It also features contributions from Will Varley who is supporting Beans on his current tour. It is certainly true that the Grand Scheme of things takes a different track but what hasn’t changed is Beans on Toast’s unrivalled ability to tell a tale, his no holds barred social commentary and his ability to tackle difficult subjects from an everyday point of view. He continues to deliver his thoughts with honesty, humour belief and passion. This is an album that broadens his musical horizons, it will delight his fans and doubtless win him many new ones.
1. Folk Singer 2. The War on War 3. Fuck You Nashville 4. The Chicken Song 5. Stinging Nettles 6. Lizzy’s Cooking 7. A Whole Lot of Loving 8. Flying Clothes Line 9. All I see is Wagamama 10. NOLA Honeymoon 11. NYE