There’s a rather beautiful love song called Jamie and Lilly on Beans On Toast’s new album.
Both halves of the eponymous couple had contacted him independently asking if he could dedicate his song I’m Home When You Hold Me to the other when he played the gig they were due to attend in Brighton.
Beans, or Jay McAllister as he is also known, duly played the song for them – and it turned out they were in the front row. He met the two women afterwards, and as Jay puts it: ’For the rest of the tour, every time I played that song I told the story of the e-mails and how it went down, trying to recreate that feeling of magic for each new crowd.
‘Towards the end of the tour, I realised that, in fact, they’d stolen the song! That song is about my wife, Lizzy, and each time I sang it I dedicated it to them. We couldn’t be having that. They needed their own song!’
Jay invited them to appear in the resulting song’s video. ‘I’ve become quite close to them, and they’re so thankful about it, but I’m like: “You understand, everyone wins in this scenario? You got this song as a gift. I got a song out of it with a great story to boot!”
‘I never want to be too pessimistic about things, but in this current climate there were a few songs on the record that were about the tragic state of the world we live in, so I think this highlights the love of the simple things.
The moment I didn’t have anything I wanted to say or wasn’t feeling it, I would stopBeans on Toast, aka, Jay McAllister
‘I’ve done it with my relationship with Lizzy over the years, but somehow being granted permission to write about someone else’s relationship, it’s opened the door to a wider understanding, and it’s less: “I love my wife!” and more “This is a way that the world can work”. I’m really proud of it.’
The song is on Jay’s ninth album in nine years, Cushty, which like all before was released on his birthday, December 1. But the self-styled ‘drunk-folk’ act’s not tiring of the relentless schedule just yet – quite the opposite.
‘I’ll do it until the end of my days. I don’t see why not, it works for me. It seems like a natural output musically, and it means I can constantly tour and keep playing festivals. The moment I didn’t have anything I wanted to say or wasn’t feeling it, I would stop. I’ve never promised this to anyone and I would never force an album out just because I’ve done it in the past. I’ve got no reason to stop, so at the moment I’ll let it keep rolling on.’
This album’s tour though sees him doing something a little different. He’s heading out on a co-headliner with label-mates, the indie-folk band Skinny Lister.
‘The love affair began when we were both opening for Frank Turner in The States. It was a three-month tour, and I was playing solo so I was travelling on the bus with them.
‘After three months it was either going to end in love or fisticuffs. And we just got on so well that at the end of that tour we had to make sure it wasn’t the end of that relationship.’
BEANS ON TOAST/SKINNY LISTER
The 1865, Southampton
Thursday, December 7