Acclaimed singer-songwriter Beans On Toast has linked up with Ben Lovett of multi-million-selling chart toppers Mumford & Sons to record his new album A Bird In the Hand.
Earlier this year Beans On Toast got back in touch with Lovett who is a founding member of the Grammy-award-winning folk rock band.
Lovett had produced Beans’ debut album Sitting on a chair in 2009.
In the near decade since then a lot has happened with Mumford & Sons becoming one of the world’s top bands, racking up No1 albums in both the UK and the United States.
Ahead of recording his own 10th album Beans, aka folk musician Jay McAllister, decided to take a gamble and contact Lovett with the view to potentially becoming involved in the recording.
It was a roll of the dice that paid out more than he could ever have anticipated as Beans not only got to work with Lovett but also got full use of Mumford & Sons’ instruments and their studio.
Now Aberdeen fans can hear the product of that collaboration when Beans On Toast headlines The Lemon Tree on Thursday February 7.
Beans said: “I have so much respect for Ben.
“I couldn’t quite believe he said yes when I asked him if he fancied doing another record.
“I presumed he’d be way too busy, but somehow he managed to find the time.
“I thought he was joking when he said he’d sorted it for us to work in The Church Studios. Not only were we in such a legendary space to record, but we also had all of Mumford’s guitars and instruments set up, mic’ed up and ready to go.”
Calling in mutual friends, Beans and Lovett secured the services of a host of top musicians including Mumford & Sons’ live drummer Chris Mass and Dutch artist Christof van der Ven on guitar.
Mumford & Sons bassist Ted Dwane plays on a couple of tracks, and Lovett himself took up piano and production duties.
“It might just be the biggest blag I’ve ever pulled and I was punching well above my weight,” explained Beans.
“The sessions had a really special magic about them and Ben took my songs into new waters.”
A Bird in the Hand is Beans’ 10th album and continues his run of releasing an album on the same date every year for the last decade.
It may very well be his best release yet as it delivers a perfect balance of folk ballads, agit punk and swing numbers.
He said: “I’m well happy with the record.
“I can’t wait for people to hear it.
“I also can’t wait to make another 10 records.”
A lot has changed in the years since Beans and Lovett recorded the debut album.
There have been seismic changes politically and also personally for Beans. He has always tackled the political side and addresses changes in his own circumstances on album track ‘Magic’, a song about the birth of his daughter at the turn of this year.
Songs about his daughter are scattered through the album, with Here at Homerton Hospital an ode to the staff at the East London institution where she was born.
He said: “I’ve been playing this song Magic live for a while now, and it definitely strikes a chord.
“More than any song I’ve ever written, I think. “After my shows, the conversations used to all be about after parties, now more often than not it’s about parenting or newborn babies.
“Which is fine with me.
“I like my songs to tell stories, but also to draw from real life emotion and experience.
“This song, about the birth of my daughter in January has all three in abundance.
“I wanted to get across the excitement and the nervousness of the by-standing father and the admiration of the female body, but most of all, this is a love song.
“A song about the unconditional love between a parent and child.
“I’ve never known anything quite like it.”
A modern-day troubadour, Beans’ new album also addresses many current issues.
Bamboo Toothbrush tackles the catastrophic plastic pollution disaster whereas Alexa looks at the future of voice-activated Internet devices.
“This album is more personal I guess,” he said.
“If focuses on family and the world on my doorstep.
“That’s where my head’s been this last year.
“I think everyone already knows where I stand on Trump and Brexit.
“If not, they can listen to my last two albums.”