Award-winning Australian artist, Fanny Lumsden, has today announced the release of her much anticipated fourth studio album, Hey Dawn, out August 4th. The album follows up to 2020’s watershed Top 10, 5x Golden Guitar and ARIA Award-winning album Fallow.
Before album Hey Dawn drops, Lumsden and The Prawn Stars will travel to the UK and Ireland to headline a number of shows as well as play Glastonbury Festival’s Avalon Stage on June 23 – a pinch-me moment for Lumsden, who says,
“I genuinely cannot believe we get to play such an iconic and huge festival, literally on the world stage. I’m hugely excited to bring my band over and bring our prawn star energy to that stage. However not before we go and play some halls in regional Australia including Tallimba Hall – the tiny community where I went to primary school.”
The album Hey Dawn is a rich character study, with the singer-songwriter reflecting on the stories that have shaped her and those around her. It’s also a more sonically diverse outing than Lumsden’s previous records, incorporating elements such as guitar-based indie-pop into her trademark world of gorgeously crafted, emotionally rich acoustic songwriting.
“I wanted it to feel good, I wanted to have fun”, she smiles. “I didn’t want to think too hard about it – I just wanted to feel.”
Hey Dawn is, in short, Fanny Lumsden’s most complete offering to date. But it took a while to get there.
Following the release of Fallow, Lumsden spent an exhausting 18 months navigating the logistical nightmare of touring in a time of COVID-related border closures and show cancellations. When combined with the residual trauma of the 2020 bushfires that nearly claimed her property in the Snowy Valleys region of New South Wales – “I literally drove out to Tamworth while the side of the road was still burning” – the desire to write music temporarily deserted her.
When it finally returned it did so on the coast of Western Australia, as Lumsden and her husband (and bandmate) Dan Freeman navigated their way home from the Northern Territory after border closures prevented them from entering Queensland for the final show of the Fallow tour. The circuitous route proved to be a blessing.
“I decompressed”, she offers. “It wasn’t until then, on the West Australian coast with no phone service, that I started writing.”
Having focused inward lyrically on Fallow, Fanny Lumsden was once again interested in telling detail-rich stories – both her own, and other people’s. In particular, she found herself drawn to her childhood, “when obviously I felt no weight of anything”.
“I think that might have been a reaction to the last few years, which were heavy for everyone”, she offers.
Fanny Lumsden and her band travelled to Tasmania to work with longtime producer Matt Fell at his studio in the picturesque Gowrie Park, many of the songs were still only ideas and shapes – an unfamiliar scenario for a singer-songwriter more used to being meticulously prepared.
The initial sessions were disrupted by a catastrophic storm that forced them to relocate to the eastern side of the island. It was there, in an Airbnb, that Lumsden awoke one morning just as the sun was rising over the ocean.
“I literally just said, ‘Oh, hey dawn!’,” chuckles the singer. The seemingly innocuous moment became something more when the sessions returned to Gowrie Park and Lumsden visited a local market in a nearby hall, in which a man was playing piano.
“The only pre-idea I had for the record was I knew I wanted the sound of a piano that felt like you were in a hall when you were a kid, and I walked into this hall and this old man was playing this vision of what I had in my head”, she recalls.
That night she went back to her accommodation and wrote ‘Hey Dawn‘, the stunning title-track that pairs celestial vocal harmonies with gentle piano before climaxing with Bacharach-esque flair. Finally, the album made sense.
“I was a bit stuck after Fallow and didn’t know where to go, and that unlocked it: ‘Oh, you just need to wake up, it’s a new day, it’s a new moment, every day is a new moment, and you just need to be where you are right now. Forget about Fallow, forget about all the other things, just be now.’”
Alongside her regular bandmates – husband Dan on bass, brother Tom on backing vocals, Josh Schubert on drums, and multi-instrumentalists Benjamin Corbett and Paddy Montgomery – she also welcomed the input of outside musicians such as EVEN’s Ash Naylor.
It’s a fitting sentiment for an album that is about the here and now, how it’s shaped by the stories from our past, and how they can always be re-written in our future.
“You have to tell the stories of the moment you’re in, and you have to put them out and trust that that is okay”, smiles Lumsden. “It’s a new day, we’re here.”
Fanny will hit the road from the end of July to celebrate the release of Hey Dawn, playing with The Prawn Stars across Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Queensland.
Fanny has just kicked off Part 1 in the latest instalment of her Country Halls Tour. With its humble beginnings in three halls in the Riverina in 2012, it is now celebrating its 10-year milestone! Over that time Fanny and her small (mostly family) team have put on full band, full productions of original live music in more than two hundred halls all over Australia, raising funds for communities, and raising the roof off halls with their all-in-community-night-out. She is heading out to halls throughout regional NSW including Tallimba which was where it all began with the very first hall the Country Halls Tour show every played – and also where Fanny grew up in the northern Riverina. Part 2 will be announced later this year and is set to visit halls all over the country – www.countryhallstour.com
‘Hey Dawn’ – official video:
UK/IRELAND TOUR DATES
June 23 – Worthy Farm, UK – Glastonbury Avalon Stage
June 28 – Kinsale, IE – Prims Book Shop
June 29 – Ballydehob, IE – Levis Corner Hose
June 30 – Clonakilty, IE – De Barras
July 6 – London, UK – Green Note