I DIDN'T know you were an Essex boy!" I say to Jay McAllister, aka Beans on Toast, the folk singer-songwriter, who I've recently discovered comes from Braintree.

He is about to play at Chinnerys, the Southend seafront music venue, supported by Stan Blade and Sky Smeed.

"Oh yes" he says, "I am. I know Southend too, I used to go on holiday there regularly.

"I wrote a song about Peter Pan's Playground a few years back, although the place is called Adventure Island now isn't it? My buddy who tours with me, my banjo player, he's from Maldon too."

Beans on Toast has been on the scene now since 2005, when he used to playing acoustic nights on the London folk scene.

Early interest in his led to an opening slot at Glastonbury Festival in 2007 – and such was the success of this legendary performance he has never been missing from the line up since. After amassing an extensive catalogue of songs and clocking up an impressive array of gigs early on – including supporting Kate Nash at London's Hammersmith Apollo in 2008 - Beans released his debut 50-track double album Standing On A Chair in 2009. Produced by Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons, it featured guest vocals by Emmy The Great, Frank Turner and members of the Holloways, amongst many others.

There have been another six albums since, which he has released every year - one a year - on his birthday, December 1.

His song-writing style tends to be straight-to-the-point. He tells it how it is, you know exactly what he is saying, no metaphor, no flowery words, and that's what seems to not only make the songs appealing to so many, but also mean he has written so many of them.

"I've always written in that way, it's naturally gone in that direction and I don't push it anywhere else" he explained. "I write the lyrics about what I feel at the time, and what comes out at the time stays how it is. I don't mull the words over or anything. A song of mine tends to be written in about 10 to 15 minutes - I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I can't picture doing it any other way that saying what I want at the time."

It's with this same 'it is what it is' attitude, that Jay or Beans, as some might call him, as continued to play as a solo artist, rather than joining a band.

"I have thought about that, and I have played in bands over the years and generally as a duo, but to be honest it's a lot more viable doing it by myself, because then I can do whatever I want to do, when I want to" he said.

Beans on Toast could of course sound like a band name though.

"Well when I originally wrote songs, I thought I was going to start a band, and I have always enjoyed coming up with band names, you know, sitting up half the night with your mates, thinking of stupid names for bands.

"I came up with Beans on Toast then - it's just easy and stupid - although very British. We all know what it is. It's quite hard to translate in the States though. They have beans, and they have toast, but they don't put them together, so they are like (does American accent) 'what? Beans? And toast?' I never thought I would get to tour America, but I did. I was going to change it to Hot Dog for when I was in America, but that didn't work."

That first tour came in 2014 after Beans On Toast performed to over 100,000 people in just one week, opening Frank Turner’s UK stadium tour in the February, alongside Flogging Molly.

It was just as he secured an XFM Evening Playlist with new digital release Keeping You.

He then spent the year playing as many summer festivals as humanly possible as well as the first stint of headlining dates in the USA.

He returned to the UK to celebrate Record Store Day by releasing a limited edition 10” entitled ‘Best of Toast Pressed On A Vinyl’.

This and a whole realm of career hightlights, is extra impressive to think Beans On Toast isn’t just your average folk singer songwriter. He is a modern one-man band, taking charge of all aspects of his music career whether it be writing, recording and playing his music, taking his own press shots or shooting his own promos.

I wondered whether he had to think like a business man, in order to continue like this.

"Well I used to work in pubs, put on nights, manage bands back in the day, so maybe there is a degree of knowing what is needed. But a lot of it is just common sense and a lot of it has happened without too much force, one gig has led to another and so on.

"When I got signed to Xtra Mile Recordings - the label for my friend Frank Turner - that was a loose deal, you know, they said 'we might as well put you on record' and I said 'ok let's do it'."

Beans' gig at Chinnerys comes not too far ahead of his date at Glastonbury.

"I first went to Glasto when I was 16, and it pretty much changed my life" said Jay. "Back in the day, you could jump the fence, which I did, and then they put a wall up, so I would get jobs there, anything from picking up litter to setting up inflatables. So I would get in that way and play shows, whether it be round the camp fire or a handful of songs on an open mic. There are different ways of saying you played at Glastonbury, you know, there is your name on the chalkboard, when you are not really in the programme. I've played there too many times to remember, but this year is certainly the biggest. I am on the Avalon stage, on Saturday, 2:15pm, I'm on the programme, it's legit!"

Beans on Toast will be playing at Chinnerys, Marine Parade, Southend, on May 27, with support from Stan Blade and Sky Smeed.

Tickets are £10 from seetickets.com or Chinnerys front bar.