Songwriters: Sarah Beth Tomberlin
People are not doing well. People are struggling—with work, and with living together, and with loneliness. People have a lot to grieve. People are going to love the new Tomberlin album, i don’t know who needs to hear this…, because it is all about their pain and yet is pleasant as well as interesting to listen to, resonant with the sense that in these times it’s best to be uncertain. Here, the space feels larger and holier than her past records, built to echo. Pedal steel. Old acoustic guitars, freshly plucked. A drifting synthesizer. Chill, brushy percussion. The looseness and wideness of the arrangements conveys a tender regard for their parts, as though each arpeggio, loop, scratch is a found shell or feather in the hand. Then there is the instrument of her voice, which has the endearing quality of being perfectly tuned but reluctantly played. “I’m not a singer,” she sings on “idkwntht.” “I’m just someone who’s guilty.” Tomberlin is Sarah Beth Tomberlin, a pastor’s kid born in Florida, raised in rural Illinois. She now lives in Brooklyn where she recorded her latest record, mostly live, with producer and engineer Phil Weinrobe.