It’s a year that might have started with a spark, but it’s certainly ended with a rocket for Fanny Lumsden after her album, Fallow, took out Best Country Album at the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards on Wednesday, 25 November.
Fanny was surrounded by family and friends on her Tooma property when the announcement was made. At first, she didn’t think she’d heard it right.
On camera, just a few hundred metres uphill from the small stone hut where Fallow was recorded, she said the COVID-19 adjusted event, broadcast from live feeds all over the world, was slightly surreal.
“I didn’t hear right at first and there was a delay and it was all a little bit weird, and then I got really emotional,” says Fanny.
“I really truly didn’t think we would win.”
While disappointed she didn’t get to experience the ARIAs under normal circumstances – red carpet, auditorium, audience, stage and celebration – as “that stuff doesn’t happen very often”, she says it was also entirely appropriate being at home for the night.
“It was lovely to receive the award in the valley where the whole story has unfolded for us, and be surrounded by the people who have been here among it all the time,” says Fanny.
Fallow was conceived and birthed before and after massive bushfires hit the region last summer and the impact of that in the final album is as much a reflection on those circumstances as it is about Fanny’s home.
“This album is so linked to the valley; songs inspired by the valley were written here, they were recorded in the stone hut just down the hill,” she explains.
“Then we got through the fires and that became part of the narrative of the record – because we couldn’t avoid it – and to come out of that experience and go into lockdown here and spend the whole year and release the whole album from here, it’s been a huge rollercoaster.”
READ ALSO: Fallow times reflected in album launch
Fanny says it was nice to have a moment to sit back and enjoy it.
“We’ll always do what we’re doing, but of course it’s nice to have this kind of respect,” she says. “And that boils down to the industry saying we’ve done really good work this year, and I think ultimately that’s a really good nod.”
The from-the-ground-up evolution of Fanny and her band, The Thrillseekers, has increasingly been etched in the minds of rural and regional folk nationwide.
Starting back in 2012, after Fanny persuaded her bandmates to head bush from the city for a small three-hall tour to help raise funds for BlazeAid.
Seven times they have now toured the nation, targeting around 70 halls in rural, remote and some urban communities, raising money for those communities in the process. And having a helluva good time.
“For us, we’ve always had a grassroots style,” says Fanny. “It’s been about the songs and creating environments where people really connect with each other, but also connecting with regional Australia and telling those stories.
“It’s great that it has connected at a larger scale.”
And connect it continues to do. Added to the ARIA Award, Fanny is headed for another red carpet, this time in January for the 49th Golden Guitar Awards with seven nominations for Fallow; including Album of the Year, Alt Country Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, Video of the Year and Heritage Song of the Year.
Currently on the final leg of the Fallow tour, the concerts throughout NSW and ACT have been a sellout.
But Fanny still had time to film a video for her new single release at Adelong Bowling Club.
In clearly the biggest entertainment event of the year at the bowlo, the local community was charmed into choreographed action for ‘Dig’, the fourth single release from Fallow.
You can watch the video here.