[album cover image by John Churchman/Brickhouse Studios]
Hello! Thanks for visiting my website.
If you like my music, please consider making a donation to my micro-funding effort on Patreon. It's tough going for artists: even $1 per month from you can help! If you're interested in my work as a producer/audio engineer, check out these websites: Pepperbox Studio and Thunder Ridge Records.
I've been busy on many fronts, but at the top of the list is the release of my newest album: Horse Thief. I'm pretty excited! This is my 5th solo album. I've taken my hard-luck rural tale telling to a new place of heart rending intensity, and peppered it with surprising twists of melodic balladry and wry humor. And because I love audio and controlling my own artistic process to the nth degree, this was recorded & mixed by me over a couple long winters. It's organic and uniquely crafted from a technical standpoint, and filled with my essence which is a good way to go when you're out in the back country.
As always, I rely on my acoustic and electric guitars to set the tone, but there are plenty of other instruments kicking around this production played by me as well. In addition, I'm honored to be supported by my right-hand drum guy Jeff Berlin, with cameos from fellow roots-rockers Bow Thayer, Steve Mayone, and Patrick Ross. New to my sound are majestic background vocals by Nikki Matheson, tasteful piano solos from veteran jazz pianist Neal Massa and versatile, high octane drum parts from Matt Musty.
"Horse Thief is an examination of love and aging inspired and informed by a lifetime spent both battling and embracing the harshness and isolation of rural Vermont. Like love, Stykos' unforgiving wilds both require and return strength. But they will also, like love and time, exact that very strength from you. It is a complex idea, brilliantly explored on the songwriter's latest, and likely greatest, record."
[Winter view from Pepperbox Studio/Photo by Kristina Stykos]
More Music from Kristina Stykos
Wyoming Territory (2013) was inspired by a trip out west Kristina took to hole up and write on a month-long artist residency. She recorded much of the album there on portable gear in the composer's studio and the following year worked with a host of great musicians in Vermont to get it finished. This roots rock song cycle is both gritty & feminine. Kristina is featured on vocals, mandolin & guitar with solid support from drummer Jeff Berlin, fiddler Patrick Ross and other guests.
"She long ago earned her reputation as one of the state’s finest lyricists. But never has she sounded so focused or refined, combining the straightforward prose of a blue-collar bard with deeply poetic sensitivity. Indeed, many of the record’s most compelling moments are those that find Stykos alone with her guitar..."
- Dan Bolles, music editor, Seven Days
Music video: "Redwing" from Wyoming Territory
"... Somewhat of a dark fantasy adventure. It boasts strong writing, superior to your previous releases; I honestly think it's one of your strongest collections of songs, filled with bittersweet tales of regret and heartache set to melodic, warm, and elegant music..."
- Robert R., County Wexford, Ireland
Wyoming Territory available at CD Baby
Beautiful Blood (2013) from The Cousins Project
This collaboration between Kristina Stykos & Steve Mayone, two veteran east coast songwriters and producers, explores topics of love, jealousy, existential angst and the wild unpredictability of nature. Both pull out the stops on this lush album, taking turns singing and collectively playing acoustic, resonator & electric guitars, banjo, lap steel, uke, and mandolin on this folk-rock extravaganza, with help from musician friends Jeff Berlin on drums and Patrick Ross on fiddle - look out Americana!
"They have very distinct and different voices but they are both playing Americana, folk and Blues with a calm intensity that really is both attractive and irresistible. Their styles are different but complementary but when they sing together the harmonies are completely natural. I have reviewed both of them at various times, very positively, and hearing this album they actually sound as though they were the missing link of each others’ sound even though you would not have thought it at the time..."
- Andy Snipper, Music-news.com
Beautiful Blood available at CD Baby
The Lost Tapes (2011)
"Your work is superb. This latest collection of early songs is beautiful and powerful. Your ability to describe your feelings and perceptions with attention to detail is great journalism and your turning these observations into lyrics is artful and inspiring. The musical compositions are beautiful and your performance displays qualities and abilities I wasn't aware of...Its a sizable amount of material too. Its clearly the work of a special artist devoted to mining the moment for peace and love and a sense of wholeness.. Everyday the artist wakes up and starts knocking on doors of awareness, compelled to paint pictures of animals on a cave's walls hoping to become them..this album is a particular favorite."
~ Harry Becker, Northampton, MA
The Lost Tapes available at CD Baby
"Throughout the record, Stykos uses her considerable skill as a poet like that of a painter: she draws the listener in and captivates with a canvas of vivid imagery. Her glorious, trance-like guitar riffs and Aaberg’s spacey synthesizer work underscore her words, like sunlight refracted through old glass of deep but vibrant colors ... Raven swirls with a depth and warmth that makes it stand out from the myriad acoustic releases in Vermont each year. It makes me want to duct-tape my old Dynaco A-25 speakers to my head so I can hear every snap and ring. In more ways than one, Raven is a treat for the ears..."
~Robert Resnik, host
"All the Traditions", Vermont Public Radio
Raven available at CD Baby
In the Earth's Fading Light (2005)
"If Kristina Stykos’ new album “In the Earth’s Fading Light” was on vinyl I’d have already worn it out. Luckily, it’s a compact disk and should be good for a long time to come. Ever since I received a copy over a month ago it has been spinning in my car’s CD player. “Fading Light” is perhaps the best new album I have heard this year by anyone, and I’m a heavy consumer of music. Bruce Springsteen may have gotten all the hype for this latest effort “Devils and Dust”, but for my money Stykos has written far better songs, delivered them with wonderful style, and can play the pants off of the King of Asbury Park.”
~Art Edelstein, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus
In the Earth's Fading Light available at CD Baby