Those in Meany - Tomberlin

Meet Sarah Beth Tomberlin - a Los Angeles-based folk musician writing and performing under the name Tomberlin.

Tomberlin jess meany lavender juniper cropped coat

As a songwriter, you share stories. Can you tell us about a story you have recently told through your writing?

I moved to Los Angeles at the end of July last year, so I've been writing a bit about the ongoing changes that brings. Looking back on the past with an aerial view is helpful in deconstructing what happened or how i've changed through the happenings. Mostly those kinds of stories right now. 

Jess Meany Daisy Voile Saguaro Dress Tomberlin

You grew up in a deeply religious home, as a Baptist’s daughter. What are some of the themes in your past that you are currently exploring in your writing?

My first record was more so entangled in those chapters of my life. I didn't realize what I was writing about, I was just trying to write good songs. But as I listened to it as a whole I was kind of like "oooh that's what you were trying to say" kind of thing. A lot of it was deconstructing my Christian upbringing. Now i'm trying to get away from that and write about other things. It will always influence how I write, but I don't want to write about it all the time. It's like picking at a scab, ha. 


Is there a contemporary artist that you are inspired by, that also makes new narratives from the stories of their past? 

I'm inspired by so many artists. I'd say Joanna Newsom, Cass McCombs, Joni Mitchell, Sufjan Stevens, and Bill Callahan are big ones for me. Recently been listening to a lot of 70's singer songwriters, and feeling inspired by the warm sounds and great writing that came out of that time. I am slow to a lot of old music because I didn't grow up with parents that listened to that stuff around me. I've had to dig on my own and ask for recommendations. 


You recently posted a playlist on Spotify entitled vitamins

What is a must-listen to song that you are excited about on there right now?

Gosh, that's a tough one. I'm bad at selecting just one thing. Maybe just listen though the playlist and find something! A lot of the songs i've been rotating are on there :)


Tomberlin in Jess Meany by Meg Wachter

Photography by Meg Wachter


Written by Jess Meany