Steve Mayone and Kristina Stykos are second cousins… but they didn’t know that until a few years ago. They lived parallel lives: songwriters, producers, independent artists. In 2006 they met by chance when Steve (who lives in Brooklyn) was playing a gig in Vermont (where Kristina lives) with his buddy Bow Thayer. Upon hearing Steve’s last name announced from the stage, Kristina introduced herself and they discovered their grandparents were siblings. In the first half of the 20th century, the Mayone family were busy brick makers, shipping bricks down the Hudson river where they were used to build such iconic structures in New York City as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Then the company collapsed, and families scattered.
Making up for lost time, Steve and Kristina began playing music together, resulting in their new album Beautiful Blood. Recorded in their home studios (Kristina’s Pepperbox Studio and Steve’s Proofbox Studio), Beautiful Blood combines their different styles into one voice: Americana, folk/rock, ballads, blues, all woven into a single tapestry. With years of writing, performing and production experience under their belts, the making of Beautiful Blood was a joyful culmination of professional compatibility and family time. As Steve said “making the album was a way to spend time together and get to know each other, musically and personally”.
Jan 3, 2013 Barre/Montpelier
By Art Edelstein
“Kristina Stykos, one of our favorite singer-songwriters and now a top-flight local recording producer, released Beautiful Blood, a joint venture with Steve Mayone, her second cousin. The two first met in 2006 at a Vermont venue and later decided to do an album together.
Mayone is a fine musician and singer-songwriter. In his voice and delivery we hear suggestions of Steven Stills and Gerry Rafferty. The 13-song album includes seven lead vocals by Mayone and six by Stykos.They also harmonize on many of the songs. The album contains several Vermont references, such as ‘Back to Victory’ and ‘South of the Chelsea Line’, and most of the songs are delivered in an electric folk style. Jeff Berlin on drums, Scott Paulson on bass and Patrick Ross on fiddle beef up the production values, adding to Mayone and Stykos’ guitars,mandola, banjo and ukulele.
This is a very likeable album. I especially enjoyed Mayone’s singing here. Since his is an unfamiliar name and voice, it was good to be exposed to a new artist who might have otherwise slipped through the cracks. Stykos remains the insightful lyricist. Her singing, while much mellowed, continues to evolve but is always powerful. Together there is a simpatico that is genetic as well as intellectual. They are a good match, and Beautiful Blood is worthy of many listenings.”