Aaron Embry: Tiny Prayers
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Aaron Embry’s name hasn’t yet breached ubiquitous recognition, but his résumé boasts performances and collaborations with an astonishing stack of headline acts, including Elliott Smith, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and, more recently, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. When removed from the headlining acts with which he’s collaborated, however, Embry adheres to a simpler, rustic style of Americana strummed on an acoustic guitar, punctuated by intermittent breezes of harmonica. On Tiny Prayers, Embry very seldom favors inflated, ornate arrangements, instead maintaining a balancing act between gentle steel-string weepers like the gorgeously harmonized “Moon of the Daylit Sky” and occasional late-nite piano jazz ballads such as “Ode to ‘If’.” On the rare occasion when Embry sees fit to expand his repertoire, as on “Good-Red-Road-Man,” he still maintains an intimacy and humility that remain affecting, even when dressed up a little bit. Truthfully, Embry doesn’t really need much to put together a compelling folk tune — for him, less really is more.