Kristina Stykos' latest relief, Horse Thief, is a trip through decades of American music, as well as her own life. Stykos is most at home with folk music, but many of the songs on Horse Thief incorporate Southern rock'n'roll and -- more distinctively -- rap. These songs remind me a little of Patti Smith's talk-singing, though Stykos revels in electronic drum loops and is certainly invested in creating a distinctive mixture of "urban" and "country" music.
The album was recorded in Stykos' home studio in the dead of a Vermont winter. The setting was certainly fitting for the subject matter: mid-life change. Unlike the younger, anxious men I tend to enjoy listening to, Stykos addresses many of the same themes -- loneliness, broken relationships, questioning one's path -- with a gravity and self-assuredness that can only come with wisdom and experience. Thought I'd be done with that shit but at least it gets a little better when you get older. At least Stykos makes it sound good.
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