Thunder Ridge Records has released the brilliant and exciting new album of original Americana music from award-winning Vermont songwriter Kristina Stykos. Entitled “River of Light”, In this, the eight release by Kristina Stykos, the album showcases her musical virtuosity and unique ability to weave soulful stories about life in rural Vermont.
This album, is more than just a new level of creative genius, but it is another chapter in a story of personal triumph. In 2017, Stykos was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that makes speaking and singing difficult or even impossible.
That doesn’t stop Kristina from continuing to write and record new music; it simply changes how she does it.
Stykos describes the album “River of Light” as “an exciting departure from anything I’ve done before. I’m a poet-musician working at the outer boundaries of the music industry, and I believe that we can all take control of our own message.”
In Review: “River of Light”, by Kristina Stykos has a quality and tone akin to the music of my youth, the works of our American Folk Heroes, the troubadours that were dreamers yet wide awake to the ills of the world that sang to us in the early days of a greater consciousness, in a voice and timber like Bob Dylan, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger and others, Kristina Stykos takes her calling seriously and with a joy that you can hear and feel in her craft.
Kristina Stykos, recently bestowed with a Vermont Community Foundation grant to publish a book of poetry later this year, Stykos’ lyrics explore the most beautiful and brutal elements of nature in the rural Northeast, including her own off-grid existence powered mostly by renewable energy.
Backed by an outstanding cast of musicians including Val McCallum (Jackson Browne Band), Steve Mayone (Kate Taylor), Patrick Ross, Jeff Berlin (Bow Thayer), and Abby Jenne (Calamity Janes), “River of Light” is composed of thirteen heart-wrought tracks that celebrate themes of love, aging, peace, and solitude – and always the communion that Stykos shares with her home state.
The strong and intuitive interplay between the players, especially through evocative solos by McCallum, Mayone and Ross and strong backing vocals from Jenne, reinforce a sense of musical unity that pervades the album.
“Working with these musicians, most of whom I’ve known for years, was such a privilege,” says Stykos. “Immensely talented, they really understood what I was striving to create.”
Critics and music lovers worldwide have taken notice. In addition to being hailed by Vermont Public Radio host Robert Resnik as a ‘genius songwriter’, longtime Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles described her last album thusly: “it is an examination of love and aging inspired and informed by a lifetime spent both battling and embracing the isolation of rural Vermont. Like love, Stykos’ unforgiving wilds both require and return strength. It is a complex idea, brilliantly explored. ”
The album can be also be found on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby or ordered directly at thunderridgerecords.com.
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