Who was Noah Kahan before “Stick Season”? 

In October 2022, Noah Kahan, a Vermont native folk-pop singer-songwriter, released his third studio album, Stick Season. His newest album has brought in listeners from all around the world, and even here at Dana Hall. While many people have Stick Season on repeat (for good reason), I would also recommend newer fans towards some of his older music. 

Noah Kahan is now on tour in Europe, sharing the feelings and stories behind Stick Season to everyone outside the New England community. Kahan’s most popular album, Stick Season, isn’t his first hit. Over the years he has produced three studio albums and two EP’s. 

Kahan was raised in Strafford, Vermont and currently resides in Watertown, just a twenty-minute drive from Wellesley. Ever since he was a kid, Kahan always enjoyed playing the guitar and writing songs. So as he got older, like other teens at the time, he started to release music on a popular music creating and sharing app, Soundcloud. Eventually, Kahan was discovered by an agent and signed his first record deal in 2017 at age twenty. Now, six years later, Kahan has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Artist category. In July 2024, Kahan is expected to play two sold out nights at Fenway Park alongside Mt. Joy, another folk indie band. 

So what’s all the hype about Noah Kahan? His lyrics not only pinpoint feelings of homesickness, depression and joy, but he also has mastered the guitar, which makes his music enjoyable to listen to. Kahan truly has mastered the art of providing his listeners with a range of emotions while listening to his music. Songs like “She Calls Me Back” and “False Confidence” provide a fun beat to sing and dance to, while “Fear of Water” and “Still” make me cry every time I listen to them. When you’re feeling sentimental, you can listen to “Carlo’s Song” or “You’re Gonna Go Far.” My personal favorite song to listen to before getting work done is “Hollow.” Alongside his own music, Kahan has also released multiple collaborations with other artists such as “Someone Like You” with Joy Oladokun, which has more of a pop beat, and “Sarah’s Place” with Zach Bryan, which has a sentimental country beat. 

Three months before the album was dropped, Noah Kahan released his TikTok viral song, “Stick Season,” named after the period of time after Halloween but before the first snowfall. Since its release last July, Kahan’s single has swept the nation, getting everyone hooked on the feeling of New England loneliness. Not only have many smaller artists posted covers of “Stick Season” on social media, but just last month, Olivia Rodrigo, a 20 year-old Grammy award winning singer-songwriter, performed her own version of the song on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. 

The idea of feeling stuck in the same place while everyone else advances is one of the common themes seen throughout all of Kahan’s music. Hence, his extension, which was released last June, added the expression “We’ll All Be Here Forever” to the album name. The extension consisted of seven additional tracks: “Your Needs, My Needs,” “Dial Drunk,” “Paul Revere,” “No Complaints,” “Call Your Mom,” “You’re Gonna Go Far,” and “The View Between Villages – Extended.” In these songs, he continues expressing themes such as losing friends, needing others, being proud of other’s accomplishments, healing, helping others, and change.

Although he looks much older, Noah Kahan is relatively young. Saying things like “I know it looks like I’ve gone through like four divorces, but I’m only 26 years old,” he often credits his “old look” to his journey with mental illness. In many of his songs, not only in his most recent album, Noah writes about his mental health journey. These themes of depression, homesickness, anxiety, and finding yourself are commonly expressed within his songs.   

Not only does he sing about mental health, but in 2019, Noah Kahan established The Busyhead Project, named after his first studio album, Busyhead. The mission of The Busyhead Project is to promote mental health discussion and provide more access to mental healthcare. In the past four years since it was founded, The Busyhead Project has raised over 2 million dollars for mental health. These funds are collected through ticket sales, limited-edition merchandise, and donations. 

While Stick Season is fantastic, I would recommend that his new listeners take a listen to some of his older music. My personal favorites include “Maine,” from his EP, Cape Elizabeth, “False Confidence” and “Carlo’s Song” from his first album, Busyhead, and “Godlight” and “Hollow” from his second album, I was/I am

Comments are closed.