Fanny Lumsden’s reputation as a songwriter and performer has been getting her a lot of attention in the last 12 months with the release of her new EP Autumn Lawn and a higher live profile since moving to Sydney to live. She is backed by the brilliant playing talent of The Thrillseekers who flesh out her songs and give them real depth, focus and character and I was lucky to catch them live a few weeks ago supporting Henry Wagons. I was suitably impressed by her and the band’s set that was high on charisma and humour and that showed she has a real love for performing. Recently we tracked Lumsden down and subjected her to the Six Strings questionnaire.
What was the album that first led you down the dusty path of americana music?
I would have to say it was Kasey Chambers’ The Captain however I do recall my dad playing Smokey Dawson in the car when we were little so maybe that was what tipped the balance.
What’s been your favourite gig you’ve played?
Hmm… Probably the gigs on our Floodraiser Country hall tour earlier this year. We played at the Tallimba, Ganmain and Boree Creek Halls in the Riverina to raise funds for an organisation called Blazeaid (where volunteers go out and rebuild fences for farmers that have been affected by natural disaster). Those gigs were really special as the whole community got involved from kids to grandparents and everyone had a great time. The Tallimba hall was also the first place I ever performed as a 5 year old in our Christmas concert (I was a Ninja Turtle) so to come back with my band was just terrific. My grandparents were also there so that was a bit of a (unfashionable) thrill.
How did you learn to play your instrument?
Well there is a lot of music in my family and everyone plays/sings something or other so even if I wanted to it would have been hard to avoid. I started off doing my AMEB piano grades from a young age and then started to pick up guitar in my teens. My Mum is a music teacher so she showed me some basic guitar chords and then I kind of fumbled along from there. In the summer my cousins and my family would all go camping on the Murrumbidgee river and spend hours singing along and pretending we were singing to thousands from on top of old logs. So I suppose it was a combination of the summer heat, ‘practice your scales’ being bellowed from the kitchen and a dominant ‘look at me’ gene.
Do you feel there is a strong country/folk music community in Australia?
Yeah for sure. There is a lot of talent creeping out of the woodwork and everyone is really supportive of each other. It’s been really important to me, as moving to Sydney with very little industry knowledge could have been a bit of a disaster without it. However I think you need to know where to look to find it as its a little inconspicuous – but then again maybe that’s the best part about it.
What has been your favourite americana release this year?
Thats a toughie as its hard to put it down to one album for one year. My favourite releases I have been listening to this year (and not necessarily released this year) would probably be Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, Jordie Lane – Blood Thinner and Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson – Wreck & Ruin.
What are your aspirations for you/your band over the next 12 months?
To get the boys wearing matching gingham (they are resisting slightly for some reason) and to feature my 89 year old grandma cracking a stock whip live on stage (see video clip below). We are also working towards another release of some form for next year and I would like to do another more extensive country hall tour and also perhaps go over the seas and far away for a stint.
I personally would also like to increase my banjo skills, buy and keep matching socks in pairs and spend a fairer ratio of time in the city and on the farm.
- Thu 22nd Nov || The Standard, Sydney
- Fri 30th Nov || Brackets & Jam, Kincumber Mountain
- Sun 9th Dec || Vanguard, Newtown – TBA
- 29th Dec-1st Jan || Peats Ridge Festival, Glenworth Valley
- 3rd – 5th Jan 2013 || Gulgong Folk Festival
- 18th -27th Jan 2013 || Tamworth Country Music Festival – Exact dates TBA