Don’t let yourself be fooled by its simple appearance and instrumentation, because Embracing Uncertainty is certainly the best acoustic music album I’ve heard in a long while!
Dressing the simple acoustic guitar with fancy playing techniques, like percussive playing, tapping, and probably slapping and popping too, Ethan McKenna is able to keep my mind interested through the listen. Moreover, the song structures are hardly conventional (with maybe a few exceptions), and often make use of uncommon time signatures. A good example of that is the second half of the first song, Dark Night of the Soul, which goes into a percussive guitar part before changing into a 5/4 chord progression.
Thus, the music sounds really progressive. It can be seen either as a stripped-down progressive rock band (think of acoustic Tesseract perhaps?), or a really progressive-oriented acoustic rock band (maybe how Harmonium began as a folk music band, only to become one of the best progressive rock bands of the 70s, I’d say the comparison is strongest with their second album).
So, the guy can play and sing really well; he makes cool progressive songs that are easy for the novice listener to listen to and interesting to the well-trained musician too. This really sounds like it could be a great introductory route to more heavy or crazy progressive rock and metal! I’ll certainly keep that in mind when one of my friends asks me for new music to listen to (gotta spread the good word or, in that case, the good music)!
This is definitely a fun album to listen to. Go grab it, it’s free!