Kristina Stykos 'Wyoming Territory' - Thunder Ridge

Kristina Stykos is a singer-songwriter who is based in Vermont.  Her first self-produced release, In The Earth’s Fading Light (2005), was designated “Best Vermont Album of the Year” and more recent albums include two collaborative projects, Beautiful Blood (2013) with singer-songwriter Steve Mayone of Boston, and Raven (2011), co-produced with Grammy-nominated pianist Philip Aaberg of Montana.

This solo album, Wyoming Territory (2013), was aided by the Ucross Foundation & Brush Creek artist residencies of Wyoming. Spending time there helped develop the overall sound of these twelve songs and we are given a big sky vista, with the Wyoming landscapes standing as metaphors for love unrequited, disillusionment and an isolated, lonely heart.

Watershed is a fine opener and speaks of the fragmented life that ensues from loving the wrong kind of guy, a liar and an outlaw. There is some fine fiddle playing on this song by Patrick Ross and indeed the quality of musicianship is very much to the fore throughout this project.

A separate, dislocated life comes across in the words and the simple arrangements that wander into similar territory to that travelled by Lucinda Williams. This artist has a distinctive voice and it certainly draws the listener into a world of couples in strife and trying to understand life. We join the lonely traveller on a number of trips out of town looking to find herself in another start up situation.

We have the vote of confidence given to a loved one in Love the Distance, where there is a crisis of self -doubt. Without Eyes is a plea for answers to the great questions of life and the loss of dreams and the flame within.

Kristina Stykos delivers reflective and thoughtful songs, with a maturity that living brings and a sympathetic nod to the fire within us all that burns. This is a collection of great depth and one that is recommended.