Posts Tagged ‘At Weddings’

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Sara Beth Tomberlin’s debut album, At Weddings, is an ode to the uncertainty and overall dishevelment of your late teens and early twenties: bogged down by self-doubt, seeking validation from others, rebelling against unsolicited religious beliefs that were pressed upon you as a child (the 23-year-old singer/songwriter was born to strict Baptist parents) and longing for someone even though you know they’re a bad influence. Featuring only an acoustic guitar and various keyboards and effects, the record centers on Tomberlin’s Joni Mitchell-esque pipes, loud in their softness and tenderness and unsuspectedly moving you to your absolute core. The naked instrumentation mirrors the transparency of her lyrics and while the songs consist of just a few elements, her overflowing emotions make the tracks feel full and warm. At Weddings is filled with such a powerful, saintly aura that even the most ugly subject matters can spur flawless, beautiful results.

TomberlinAny Other Way Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick From the album At Weddings.

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Sara Beth Tomberlin’s debut album, At Weddings, is an ode to the uncertainty and overall dishevelment of your late teens and early twenties: bogged down by self-doubt, seeking validation from others, rebelling against unsolicited religious beliefs that were pressed upon you as a child (the 23-year-old singer/songwriter was born to strict Baptist parents) and longing for someone even though you know they’re a bad influence.

Much of the record details her shift from a home-schooled daughter of a Baptist pastor, into a young woman striving to find her place in the world and questioning, perhaps rejecting, the faith that shaped her upbringing. At Weddings is released today on Saddle Creek Records, and this week Tomberlin has shared the latest track from it Any Other Way.

Influenced more by hymns than any modern artist, there’s certainly a clarity and power to Tomberlin’s sound more often associated with religious music, as well as a lyrical intensity that comes with those songs of judgement and revelation. Sarah Beth describes the moment she found herself singing in church and realising she wasn’t sure she believed the words in front of her, “I felt nauseous and shaky reading these words I was singing and feeling their intensity. If I did believe this, how could I sing these words without being scared out of my mind? That’s what’s influenced how I write”. On, Any Other Way, Tomberlin offers a candid snapshot of that moment, and the emptiness that came with it, “feeling bad for saying oh my god, no I’m not kidding, gave me a sudden feeling that I didn’t have a place”.

Throughout, atop a backing of muted guitar strums and gentle piano runs, Sarah Beth is struggling for answers, now they’re no longer found in, “a book off the shelf”, and despite others reassuring her it’s a brave decision, you can hear the doubt and the temptation to run back to the world she knows. Tomberlin’s music feels vital, a lifeline to those going through difficult times and wondering if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, “my number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist”, this certainly seems like a very impressive start towards achieving her goals.

Featuring only an acoustic guitar and various keyboards and effects, the record centers on Tomberlin’s Joni Mitchell-esque pipes, loud in their softness and tenderness and unsuspectedly moving you to your absolute core. The naked instrumentation mirrors the transparency of her lyrics and while the songs consist of just a few elements, her overflowing emotions make the tracks feel full and warm. At Weddings is filled with such a powerful, saintly aura that even the most ugly subject matters can spur flawless, beautiful results.

Tomberlin “Self-Help” from the album At Weddings

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Tomberlin is the project of Sarah Beth Tomberlin. Her debut album, “At Weddings”, is due out August 10th via Saddle Creek Records. another song from the album, “Seventeen,” via its video. Zach Xanders directed the video, which features the singer driving around a small town and hanging out in the country and at a graveyard.

Tomberlin was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but is now based in Louisville, Kentucky. She grew up in a very religious household, the daughter of a Baptist pastor, and was home schooled until the age of 16, after which she went to college at a private Christian school she only half-jokingly describes in a press release as a “cult.” At 17 she dropped out of school, returned home, and started to question her faith and her place in the world. It was around this time she began writing the songs that would end up on At Weddings.

“I was working, going to school, and experiencing heavy isolation,” Tomberlin says of the period in a press release. “It felt monotonous, like endless nothingness. It was a means to get through to the next step of life.”

By the time she was 20 she had written enough songs for an album. The press release says At Weddings“documents the unlearning of her childhood faith” but was still heavily influenced by church music and hymns.

studious patrons of a specific corner of the internet may already be familiar with Sarah Beth Tomberlin’s stirring At Weddings , released under her own surname last year.  the substance and weight of that album appropriately drew the interest of Saddle Creek Records, who will reissue At Weddings, containing three brand-new songs, on august 10th.

as an introduction (or re-introduction), Tomberlin has shared a new music video for her standout cut “Self-Help,” its meditative, metallic timbre supplemented by hazy footage of Tomberlin taking in an aquarium.  the recurring jellyfish feel like a subtle nod to references of electrocution and overall pain, concepts Tomberlin sifts through with devastating turns of phrase.

Tomberlin At Weddings Best Alt-Folk of 2017

There needs to be a word for “love at first sound,” because although rare, it has happened more than once over the years. And it’s always late at night, when I find myself scouring the internet in search of humanity. I found it in album by Lemolo Also on Kyle Morton at the end of sometime last year , and now in Tomberlin, as “You Are Here” softly announces, “I am here and nowhere else and you are all I want.” Musician Owen Pallett proudly calls this work, “absolutely the most beautiful record I’ve ever worked on,” which he contributed to, mastered and produced. It’s the product of a one Sarahbeth Tomberlin, from Louisville, Kentucky, and like the others on this list, she’s only a fifth of a century old. It echoes and sways, ebbs and flows, lingering long into the night and hopefully in the genre of ambient folk.

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Tomberlin’s new album “At Weddings” begins to leak into your ears, quietly at first and then seemingly growing louder as it takes root and shape and finds its way , that vocal, so weighted down with sentiment it feels ready to crack at any moment it reminds me somewhat of Marika Hackman, shifting the light and atmosphere in an instant, one of those moments of discovery that lingers for days, like it was meant just for you and nobody else.

‘At Weddings’ is released today, via Bandcamp; a seven-track mini album that features additional magic from that most fruitful of magicians himself, Owen Pallett, who mastered and produced the record and also appears on the quietly haunting centre-piece “Self-Help”. This record pertinently, defiantly, belongs to Sarah Tomberlin, however, and as it worms its way through the billowing darkness, her voice and vision grows even more significant, not just a soft power but a flood of poignancy that gets in to the cracks of those floorboards, that turns those coloured leaves even more autumnal, that takes over whatever empty space there was.

Opening track “Any Other Way” is an instant draw, a soft strum that gently broods in to life; “I got a book off the shelf today, it’s gonna tell me what I should say. I don’t know how to talk, when you’re looking that way”, Tomberlin sings with tangible desolation. Elsewhere, the stunning “Tornado” pushes her exquisite voice fully to the fore, a tender moment of balance underpinned by far-off undulations, and the closing “February” is perhaps the stand-out track here, a creeping moment of isolation that seems to drift in the ether long after its five-minutes have passed, joining those floating motes of dust, remembered, occasionally, when the sun lands in just the right spot to illuminate it all over again.

Personal and poignant, “At Weddings” is a remarkable collection of songs, the kind of quiet unraveling that seems to gather its strength from somewhere else entirely; a stark and stirring reminder of the true power of vulnerability and sensitivity.

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