Fanny Lumsden’s new album, Fallow, is an indelible collection of storytelling that features some of Fanny’s most intimate songwriting to date.
“I wrote this album in amongst a season of change,” says Fanny of Fallow, her third full-length record. “It was a time of re-evaluation."
For an artist who’s made her name writing songs packed with clever observations and witty asides, often about the quirks of small-town Australian life, Fallow represents something of a lyrical shift for Fanny. Her eye for detail is as sharp as ever, but this time the subject matter is more personal.
Over the past few years the singer–songwriter has experienced some of life’s greatest joys, nowhere more so than in the birth of her son. While she was pregnant, however, her husband and bandmate, Dan Stanley Freeman, lost his mother to cancer. “With this album I was really trying to just write what I felt, rather than trying to be clever about observations,” she says. “I felt like I learned to see not just the funny, witty stuff anymore. I want to say these things and sing these things because that’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m in this space, so why not celebrate it?”
Fanny lives on the western side of the Snowy Mountains where she wrote most of the songs. The setting was a constant reminder that even in dark times there is beauty all around. Save for some drum tracking at Endomusia Studios in in the Blue Mountains and a few overdubs in Sydney at Love HZ Studios, most of the album was recorded with producer Matt Fell in a stone hut a few hundred metres from her home. The location called for some resourcefulness.
“We used this bathroom that’s built out of a cast iron tank as an echo chamber,” laughs Fanny. “There were all these cool elements that we would never use if we were in a studio. I really wanted to take Matt out of Sydney so he could experience where I’d written the songs, or what the songs were about, in this mountain environment in this beautiful valley. I wanted that to come out in the music, and I feel like it does.”
One of the reasons Fanny chose to name the album after the song Fallow is because “I love the word, I love how it sounds”. On a deeper level, it reflects the sense of hope that filters through the album. “Fallow means tilled earth ready for planting, ready for sowing, and I like that it represents possibility and new beginnings, but with a chance of failure. I wanted this album to be hopeful. We play so much in regional areas, and I’m from the bush, and with all the drought and hardship that’s going on I didn’t want to dwell on that any more. I wanted to create something with a bit of hope.” She says that Fallow is a very personal album, “This is me. Here I am.”