Kristina Stykos River of Light Cover Art

Today we happily bring you an award-winning outlaw country/folk singer songwriter who exemplifies pure determination and a fiercely independent spirit. Kristina Stykos‘s dark, self-produced, poetry-soaked music, lyrics and original vocal cadence bears resemblance to rock n’ roll/punk icons like Patti Smith. Her recording studio, Pepperbox Studio, is solar, wind and generator powered.

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.”


Kristina Stykos photo by Jack Rowell
Kristina Stykos photo by Jack Rowell

Press Quotes
“Since she started churning out recordings on her Thunder Ridge Records imprint in 2005, Kristina Stykos has embraced a unique vision of Vermont. Her dark and complex view of life in the Green Mountains is embodied by the folk-rock songwriter’s Pepperbox Studio, where she’s produced her own albums and dozens more for other artists. The off-the-grid studio is scenic and homey, a quintessentially rustic Vermont setting with sweeping mountain panoramas. But life there is as isolating and unforgiving as it is beautiful. That dichotomy has long informed Stykos’ music, making hers a singular Vermont voice — up to and including when she lost it.

In 2017, Stykos was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that
makes speaking and singing difficult or even impossible. It’s the same ailment that has long plagued British folk-rock singer Linda Thompson. But rather than cowering in the face of a career-threatening disability, Stykos confronted it head-on. As she told Seven Days in early 2018, “If I can’t sing, I’ll talk.”

On River of Light, her recently released sixth album, Stykos does both. She alternates between a dusky melodic rasp and a sort of spoken-word style that’s equal parts slam poetry and talking blues, but set against a twangy, alt-country backdrop. Stykos’ songwriting has always had a jagged edge. If anything, her vocal condition enhances that rough-hewn quality, bringing the stark isolation of her writing into finer focus.” Dan Bolles, Seven Days

“Overall, Stykos comes across as a fiercely independent spirit roaming the land and thinking a lot about the beauty and brutality of her immediate surroundings and, by extension, the world.” Martin Raybould, Whisperinandhollerin, Ireland – UK

Artist Links
Youtube Channel

Kristina Stykos is a music producer, recording engineer, songwriter, radio host, podcaster and musician based in Vermont.

Kristina solidified her launch as an audio engineer in 2008, earning a certificate in studio production from the Berklee School of Music. As of 2019, she holds producer credits for upwards of 30 albums created at her hill-top recording loft, Pepperbox Studio: a solar, wind and generator powered, fully off-grid facility. She is also founder-owner of a small, Americana label, Thunder Ridge Records.

Kristina was awarded “Best Songwriter of 2013” by Vermont’s Times Argus newspaper, for her 5th solo album, Wyoming Territory. The album was supported in its development by the Ucross Foundation & Brush Creek artist residencies of Wyoming. Her first self-produced release, In the Earth’s Fading Light, was awarded “Best Vermont Album of the Year” by the same paper in 2005.

Her recent albums include three collaborative projects: The Detangler (2018) with Ariel Zevon, daughter of Warren Zevon; Beautiful Blood (2013) with singer-songwriter Steve Mayone of Brooklyn NY, and Raven (2011), with Grammy-nominated pianist Philip Aaberg of Montana.

Kristina’s newest solo album River of Light (2019) brings in Jackson Browne guitarist Val McCallum, along with other notable friends & session players.

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