Exploring the Essence of New England
Noah Kahan, the talented singer-songwriter, delivers an authentic tribute to the intricacies of growing up and maturing in a small New England town with his newest album, Stick Season. Released on October 14, this 14-track masterpiece perfectly aligns with the cooling temperatures and the arrival of fall.
A Departure from Pop Energy
Stick Season marks Kahan’s third album, showcasing a departure from his previous pop-focused style. Rewriting the narrative during the pandemic, Kahan relocated from Brooklyn to his childhood home in Strafford, Vermont. This move ignited a newfound inspiration in the heart of New England, which seeps through every note of this American roots album. In an interview with People magazine, Kahan discusses his decision to shift away from pop music, as he yearned to rediscover the true essence of his artistry, unburdened by the pressures of commercial success.
Embracing the Local Vernacular
The album takes its name from the titular single, Stick Season. This term, native to Vermont, refers to the transition period between autumn and winter. The track beautifully captures Kahan’s desire for someone who has departed from his life, poignantly expressing, “I love Vermont but it’s the season of the sticks.” Here, Kahan effortlessly conveys the struggle between attachment to one’s hometown and a sense of dissatisfaction.
A Surging Online Sensation
The release of Stick Season in July introduced the single to a captivated online audience, fueling the anticipation for the album’s full release. Kahan, pleasantly surprised by its immense success, reflects on this milestone moment, stating, “Writing a song that truly resonated with me, and seeing it evoke profound emotions in others, has been the most validating and astonishing experience I’ve ever had as a musician. For the first time, I feel at ease in my own musical skin, and that brings me immense joy.”
A Northern Opener
The album commences with Northern Attitude, the second single released in September. This spirited track perfectly sets the stage for the remaining songs, embodying the essence of the North with lyrics like, “Forgive my northern attitude, oh, I was raised out in the cold.” While exuding a melancholic yet serene ambiance prevalent throughout the album, Northern Attitude stands out with its upbeat tempo that progressively builds, offering a transporting experience reminiscent of a Vermont woodland beneath a grey sky.
A Diverse Soundscape
Each song on Stick Season is a unique masterpiece, unveiling a different facet of Kahan’s personal journey while maintaining a relatability that transcends individual experiences. From the lively She Calls Me Back, reminiscent of his previous pop sound, to the tender melodies of Strawberry Wine, Orange Juice, and Halloween, Kahan weaves a captivating story with every track, experimenting with diverse sounds and tones.
Balancing Between Youth and Adulthood
In addition to capturing the transitional period between fall and winter, Kahan skillfully navigates the space between youth and adulthood. In the track Everything, Everywhere, he explores the scars left from adolescence, while Growing Sideways reflects his fear of falling behind in life, expressing, “Cause everyone’s growing, and everyone’s healthy, and I’m terrified that I might never have met me.”
Embracing the Journey
The album culminates with The View Between Two Villages, a gradual and introspective masterpiece. Within these melancholic melodies, Kahan confronts the realities of aging, homecoming, and the tumultuous years of the pandemic. He declares, “I am seventeen again, I am not scared of death, I have dreams again.” As the song builds in intensity, Kahan leaves us with a poignant reflection, “A minute from home, but I am so far from it… I’m back between villages, and everything remains still.”
Discover the Essence of Stick Season
Noah Kahan’s Stick Season serves as a profound acknowledgment of the people and places that have indelibly shaped who we are today. Through songs dedicated to past lovers, old friends who have lost their way, family, and the places that have nurtured us, this album captures the bittersweet nostalgia of returning to one’s hometown. Experience the magic of autumn fading into winter in New England, and let Noah Kahan’s mesmerizing melodies carry you on a heartfelt journey.
Image Courtesy of ABC News