If you’ve been reading this site for the past couple months, chances are you’re already aware that we’re pretty excited about Sarah Beth Tomberlin’s debut At Weddings. We named her an Artist To Watch back in early June. Just over two months later, At Weddings is our reigning Album Of The Week. And as of today, it’s out for everyone to hear.
By way of previewing At Weddings, Tomberlin shared a couple of singles, including “Seventeen,” “Self-Help,” and “I’m Not Scared,” the latter two of which are particularly crushing and ranked amongst our favorite songs in their respective weeks. On the album, there are plenty of moments that are equally as transfixing as these singles.
The songs Tomberlin has already released dominate the second half of At Weddings, but as soon as the album begins it’s clear this is a young artist already able to present a fully-fleshed out world to us. Opener “Any Other Way” foreshadows the fractured compositions ahead while also suggesting the possibilities of leaving these wreckages behind when Tomberlin sings “I’m tired of running away.” “Tornado” plays like a transporting prayer for the aftermath of such storms.
Really, though, At Weddings deserves to be taken in as a whole, when all of these songs sit against each other and drift in and out from another via instrumental segues. A major part of Tomberlin’s origin story was being raised in a devoutly religious household, unable to listen to secular music. There are ways in which At Weddings is rooted in that time, songs fragile and hymnlike even as they reckon with struggles both quotidian and spiritual. There are ways in which At Weddings traces the experience of a young person starting to understand their upbringing, whether we had one like Tomberlin’s or not, that process of realizing what shaped you, what you have to live with vs. what you can undo and remake.
In general, it’s just a stunning debut. You can, and should, check out the whole thing for yourself below.
At Weddings is out now via Saddle Creek. Order or stream it here.