WHEN you see footage on social media of Fanny Lumsden and her backing band, The Prawn Stars, entertaining a packed Glastonbury Festival tent with her trademark pizzazz, you've gotta ask why did it take so long?
Lumsden finally made her UK debut in June, which kicked off with a triumphant performance at one of the world's most famous music festivals.
"It was nuts. I can't believe we got to play such an iconic and revered festival," Lumsden says from her property in Tooma Valley on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains.
"It was on my bucket list for my 10-year plan, and I can't believe we got to play it and it was so incredible."
Of course here in Australia, alt-country and folk audiences woke up a while ago to Lumsden's unique talent to blend quirky and the emotionally powerful.
The 36-year-old's star ascended rapidly in 2020 when she released her critically-acclaimed third album Fallow. The album won an ARIA for best country album and claimed a further five Golden Guitars.
The flip side to that success was it raised the stakes, at least in Lumsden's mind, for her next album, Hey Dawn.
"It was more of a labour of love," she says.
"It took more digging to find Hey Dawn, after the strong narrative of the last few years and the drama that came around Fallow."
Either side of Fallow's release was marred by devastating bushfires that wrecked havoc on Lumsden's property in the Black Summer of 2019-20 and then the pandemic spoiled opportunities to tour her strongest material.
Seemingly as a reaction to Fallow's more reflective and folk-orientated vibes, and the troubles of the past few years, Hey Dawn is the most upbeat album of Lumsden's career.
You'll Be Fine is a classic slice of '60s pop-rock that bursts out of the blocks and jangly guitar-driven singles Millionaire and When I Die are more inner-west Sydney or Melbourne Americana than the traditional Tamworth sound.
It was more of a labour of love. It took more digging to find Hey Dawn.- Fanny Lumsden
"A lot of the feedback I've been getting is it's just joy, which is great," she says. "The intention I had going in was to create something that felt good.
"Obviously I wanted to tell stories, so it's basically a collection of stories about different things, but I wanted them to all feel good.
"So I wanted to have hope even in the more melancholy corners of the record."
That doesn't mean Hey Dawn is without emotional moments. Ugly Flowers was written about the passing of her grandmother and explores the nostalgia and traditions that bind families together.
It's something that's become even more important since Lumsden and her husband and bandmate, Dan Stanley Freeman, have had their own children Walter and Rupert.
"It was the culmination of the last couple of years for me that song," she says.
"I was getting to an age where I have little kids and my grandma passed away and now my parents are stepping up into the role.
"You're watching the evolution of life like everybody else does. It's beautiful and it's sad and it keeps going on."
Lumsden has already kicked off her Australian tour for Hey Dawn, and following that, she's keen to build on her initial UK success.
Despite her very Australian sound and stories, she says the music taps into universal feelings.
"It appeals to the human side of the story and they're connecting with people and it doesn't matter where you are, we all feel the same things and go through the same things," she says.
"The Australian part is just one element of what I do. It became interesting.
"People were saying, 'I feel like I wanna travel around Australia now', after they saw us play. So maybe I should get some money from Tourism Australia."
Fanny Lumsden's Hey Dawn was released on Friday.
The Hey Dawn tour visits Street Theatre, Canberra (August 4); Wagga Civic Theatre (August 5); Benalla Town Hall (August 6); Brunswick Picturehouse, Brunswick Heads (August 9); Milton Theatre (September 1) and Lizotte's, Newcastle (September 3).