Written by: Jen Dan
Vermont-based folk-rock singer-songwriter Kristina Stykos released her latest album, River of Light, this past January via Thunder Ridge Records.
Stykos recorded the album at her own studio, Pepperbox Studio, which is solar- and wind-powered. Her DIY musical style is compelling and filled with potent and poetic lyrics.
Not only is Stykos a musician, she’s also a music producer, recording engineer, radio host, and podcaster. She has produced almost 30 albums in her studio and has put out records via her label Thunder Ridge. Upholding individual freedom and the spirit of the Vermont wilderness, Stykos revels in her independence.
Her latest video for Since You Asked, a track off River of Light, spotlights the Vermont landscape in the snowy drifts of wintertime and the melting frost of springtime. Gushing rivers, leaf-strewn earth, and budding branches fill the view as Stykos walks amid the forest environment.
The lyrics of Since You Asked are direct and riveting, as is her sing-talking style and stark guitar-driven arrangement. The guitar rings out with a Western reverb twang and a forthright Stykos is backed at times by male vocal accompaniment.
On Since You Asked, Stykos declares that she won’t ever change who she is; take it or leave it. It’s a bold and sincere statement (and contains more than a grain of punk attitude, like her hero Patti Smith), and one that sticks with the listener long after the song is finished.