Fanny Lumsden
Fanny Lumsden | Credit: Don Arnold/WireImage

Fanny Lumsden: “I Spill Food on Myself and Run Into the Door – I’m the Chaotic One”

Fanny Lumsden is an eight-time Golden Guitar award winner. The annual awards ceremony – officially the Country Music Awards of Australia – is one of the flagship events at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. In 2021, Lumsden was nominated in seven categories and clinched five Golden Guitars, including Country Album of the Year for Fallow and Single of the Year for ‘Fierce’.

Lumsden returns to Tamworth this January, appearing alongside contemporaries Melanie Dyer, Lachlan Bryan and Casey Barnes and Golden Guitar royalty Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley and Lee Kernaghan. Lumsden’s latest release, Fallow & Variations, is a full-album redo of her decorated 2020 release. Music Feeds chats to Lumsden about Fallow, her career progression and the evolution of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Fanny Lumsden – ‘Fierce’

Music Feeds: Your profile has grown a lot since releasing Fallow – not just your audience, but also your esteem within the industry. You’re now seen as one of the leading performers in your field. Do you feel that?

Fanny Lumsden: Yeah. I don’t know about a leader – I don’t know when you feel like that – but definitely audience-wise, it’s expanded it a lot. My core country audience by location and by genre have always been amazing but Fallow definitely branched that out a lot further. And definitely in the accolade department, that really galloped things along, which was amazing.

MF: You cleaned up at Tamworth 2021. You won everything.

Fanny: Yeah. It was unbelievable. I’ve watched other people do that and you just always think that you’re in a different place. I don’t know, I just spill food on myself and run into the door. I’m usually the chaotic one. So it was quite a shock. I was well prepared to go in and lose seven for seven.

MF: You put out Fallow & Variations in March. What was it like revisiting and re-recording those songs? 

Fanny: Originally the idea came literally just after I’d put [Fallow] out. I was like, “Let’s record it again.” We were going to do an acoustic version and I was like, “Feels a bit boring – let’s do the album again.”

It was just fun because when you’re going in the first time, you’re trying to get it right, whereas this time it was like, “Hey, do you want to put a marching band on ‘Dig’ and nothing else?” And, like, “Do you want to get someone from Scotland to play the Uilleann pipes on [‘Fallow’] and make it really Celtic?”

Now we’ve got a double vinyl and it really feels like this amazing piece of work and I feel super proud when I hold it. I’m like, “This is everything that I’ve worked for pretty much up until now in one package,” which is really lovely.

MF: Are you daunted by what comes next?

Fanny: Yes, I am. I’m doing it, but it’s a very different process to what it has been previously. Like, now I have two kids and I’m trying to write a record. And I went into the studio and we recorded one but now I can’t stop writing, so now we’re like, “Do we do two records? Do we scrap the first one?”

Before that, every other record, I’ve just been like, “Here are the songs, this is what we’re recording, this is what we’re putting out.” So this is a bit different.

Fanny Lumsden – ‘Dig – Variation’

MF: You’re on the lineup for Tamworth Country Music Festival in January. When did you first attend Tamworth?

Fanny: My first time going was in 2009 and then I had a few years off. I moved to Sydney, I was still playing the same music but I was like, “No, I’m indie.” And then I went back to Tamworth in 2013 and the audience were like, “Oh wow.” And that was after I’d started my Country Halls Tour. So I’ve been going ever since.

MF: What do you like about going to Tamworth? 

Fanny: I absolutely love it there. I love the audience, I love the vibe, I love that everybody is in one place at one time, which is rare for a music community to be in a space for longer than one night.

Country has a reputation of being a really small and tiny community and I think that Tamworth is a big part of that, because it is somewhere we all pilgrimage to every year.

MF: You were at BIGSOUND this year as part of BIGSOUND’s embrace of country music. Do you think the country music community is growing? And is the programming at Tamworth reflecting that?

Fanny: Definitely. There’s little pockets of country music everywhere and there’s people that play country music and don’t go to Tamworth, which is fine also. When you say country music, there’s what people think of and then there’s everything else, which is the vast majority. People either think of something quite country and western or they think of country pop. I’m neither of those things and a lot of amazing music in country isn’t.

I think that has grown at Tamworth as well. In the last few years, the diversity of country music is extending out to that stuff that you wouldn’t think of as country. And that community itself is also growing. The alt scene, it’s been a bit of an underground swell, it’s been bubbling away.

MF: Has the focus on alt-country grown during the time that you’ve been going to Tamworth?

Fanny: When I first came there was nothing really around and we were still figuring out where I fit in. And then they started this thing called Late Night Alt around 2014 or 15. It started at 10pm and it went till 1am a bunch of nights and everyone was packed in there. And that’s grown and grown and now it’s an event in the park on the big stage. And there’s the Tamworth Hotel, which hosts pretty much only alt-country – there’s all these different things now.

  • Tamworth Country Music Festival will take place from Friday, 13th – Sunday, 22nd January 2023. Fanny Lumsden is playing at the Capitol Theatre on Saturday, 21st January. Tickets here.

Further Reading

The Best of Country Music at BIGSOUND 2022

MusicNSW Launches New Tour-Planning Platform, The Regional Touring Network

Watch You Am I & Fanny Lumsden Cover The Pretenders’ ‘Brass In Pocket’ On The Set

Must Read