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MP3 Kristina Stykos - In the Earth's Fading Light

Raw and elegant, these original songs and tunes touch the soul of American roots music, featuring Kristina''s stellar acoustic guitar work and singing. Appearances by friends Bela Fleck, Patti Casey, Karen Almquist, Jeremiah McLane and Susannah Blachly.

16 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modern Folk, WORLD: Celtic

This album combines Kristina''s eclectic talents; as a celtic guitar stylist, songwriter and dig-in traditional roots musician. She has gathered friends to make a home-studio recording that is full of both grit and passion, and beauty and grace. Mostly it''s just honest. The song topics cover torn apart relations, spiritual alienation, and inspired reconnection with the core of living. Listeners who enjoy good words should find this a pleasant break from much of contemporary music. The 12 page CD book is full of Kristina''s thoughts and writing, and she takes time to give you background on the instrumentals as well. For guitar players, her quirky but accomplished style will provide ample room for wondering "how she did it". Open tunings are definitely featured here, and wonderful acoustic guitars. There are a few significant dedications on the album, one in particular to the late Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham, which includes a powerful song about her encounters with him in recent years. All in all, this is a unique feast of music from a truly unique artist.

Born in Ithaca, NY, Kristina came of age in the heartland of an exploding folk music scene, led by a new wave of acoustic guitar junkies and fiddle driven bands. Watching from the sidelines as a teenager, she was there for Trumansburg''s first old time music gatherings and moonshine parties as well as Phil Shapiro''s nascent "Bound for Glory" radio show at Cornell University. At the larger campus venues, artists such as Joni Mitchell, The Byrds, Taj Mahal, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bonnie Raitt, the Incredible String Band, Aretha Franklin and James Taylor were regular fare.

Kristina''s performing life got started in Cambridge, MA where she moved in 1976 to be a student, and began playing solo gigs in clubs and restaurants, occasionally joined by friend Bela Fleck. Meanwhile, her double life as a volunteer in the avante garde film-making community took her to diverse performance venues, including the punk rock lofts of Boston’s North End, the Barnum and Bailey Circus Train, Metallica parties in city mansions and onstage filming with Holly Near. A short stint as a cook in Sweden and a spiritual awakening later, in 1980 Kristina found Vermont, where she settled and began the slow work of honing her skills as a songwriter. In the quiet of a remote mountain farmhouse in winter, she wrote most of the material for her first self-produced album of original music "Crazy Sorrows" in 1986, while living with no running water, and just enough electricity to run her electric piano.

For the next decade Kristina''s composing and performing went underground, as she rose to the demands of full-time single parenting, eventually working her way back into music from a new angle, one that could be compatible with family life. In 1997 from her home office she built a successful non-profit organization whose mission was to reinvigorate central Vermont''s relationship to national folk music. Her work as founder and director of "Live Art", booking major acts at the newly restored Barre Opera House and other regional venues, enabled her to forge new personal connections locally as well as within the music industry.

Kristina and her guitar began to make their way back into the local music scene shortly thereafter, bringing a distinctive voice and cadence to Irish-oriented sessions. In the years following she brought her considerable skills to several celtic music bands exploring traditional Irish, Scottish and French repertoires on guitar, mandolin and cittern. She also became aware of a new generation of regional contradances, and made haste to support the trend with her solid rhythm backup. As an accompanist, she continued to perform aside singer-songwriters including David Francey, Michele Choiniere, Patti Casey and Nikki Matheson.

In 2004 Kristina focused in on her partnership with fiddler and singer/songwriter Susannah Blachly. Moving from a duo to a trio and then to a quartet, their current band Wagtail includes guitarist George White, and percussionist Carter Stowell. WAGTAIL''s high-energy “new trad” sound embraces celtic reels and jigs, old time jamming, powerful song-writing and luxuious three-part harmonies.

During the long Vermont winters, Kristina engineers recording projects at "Pepperbox Studio", which now inhabits the 3rd floor of her sprawling solar and wind powered house. In 2005 she co-produced a full-length CD of stories for children: "Second Hand Tales" with story-teller Simon Brooks, and has recently finished recording a CD for Revels North, with Pete Sutherland. This winter WAGTAIL has also been in the studio, recording their first CD, due out in June 07. During the warmer seasons, Kristina also works as a gardener, owning and managing her own business: GARDENESSA. She lives in Chelsea, VT with her husband, guitar-maker Michael Millard of Froggy Bottom Guitars, and children Freya(19), Wilder(16) and Anna(12).

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