“any Other Way” By Tomberlin Review
Sarah Beth Tomberlin doesn’t have to raise her voice to touch a nerve, and that strength makes the Louisville, Kentucky-based artist’s debut, At Weddings, an affecting listen. Populated with hushed acoustic guitar melodies and deeply felt tales about religion and growing up, the album is carried by Tomberlin’s ability to fill a room with a whisper. “Any Other Way,” its most purely beautiful and contemplative track, distills all of Tomberlin’s strengths as a songwriter: Her simple instrumentation lifts up every note of her voice, and her sharp and economic lyrics cut to the heart of the matter. She conjures up an achingly intimate world for us—one where she dwells on the guilt of taking God’s name in vain (“Feeling bad for saying/Oh my God/Gave me a sudden feeling/That I didn't have a place”) and hazardous relationships (“You said that I was brave/But I just feel insane”)—with little more than acoustic guitar strums, the softest keyboard melody, and gentle, swaying singing. Her ambient folk sound, like Grouper’s Liz Harris, is quietly intense. It requires a feathery touch to do something both subtle and powerful, and on “Any Other Way” Tomberlin will blow you away.