Tomberlin Shares New Song “I’m Not Scared”

At Weddings Due Out August 10 via Saddle Creek

Jul 18, 2018
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Tomberlin is the project of Sarah Beth Tomberlin. Her debut album, At Weddings, is due out August 10 via Saddle Creek. Previously she shared a video for its first single, "Self-Help" (which was one of our Songs of the Week), as well as a video for "Seventeen." Now she has shared another song from the album, haunting folk ballad "I'm Not Scared." Listen to it below.

Tomberlin had this to say about the song in a press release: "It is abrasive, heavy, but packaged delicately. I feel like many people view women as such -- shrill and emotionally burdensome but responsible for consistently presenting themselves pleasantly. Gentle and affable - their warmth a tool to heal often with no regard for the state of the body and mind that warmth permeates from. Women, and especially queer, trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming people, have such a capacity for pain. Physical, mental, emotional, psychological pain. This is a hymn-like song in the way that it moves melodically. A reflection on that suffering. I didn't realize the full meaning when I wrote it. The weight of the song didn't hit me until I was listening to the final recording. It is kind of like leaving a person or situation that is really abusive and not realizing how much it affects your psyche until you've removed yourself completely. You look back and you realize you are strong, even though that is the last word you would use to describe how you feel."

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 homeschooled 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. 

As Tomberlin explains in the press release: "A lot of hymns talk about really crazy stuff - being saved from the depths and the mire, judgment. When you actually realize what you're singing, it becomes really overwhelming. I grew up singing in church. I was still helping to lead worship when I started coming to terms with the realization that I didn't know if I believed. 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."

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