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Every era eventually has to come to an end. That is the case for Noah Kahan’s third studio album, “Stick Season.” For just under two years, fans have been swaddled with Kahan’s folk-pop album, in an honest journey filled with growth and change. 

“Stick Season” is one of the many albums written during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Like many others, Kahan was forced to live in his hometown during quarantine, where the Vermont native found what he wanted to explore in his album. 

“I wanted to write about what it was like to grow up in a small town, what it means to fall in love and lose people in a small town, and write from the perspective of someone who stayed behind,” Kahan said in an interview to Billboard. “As I found this niche and new concept to write about, I started being really excited again about what my future and life could look like doing what I actually want to do.”

Stick Season, The Original 

Kahan first teased the album with the title track “Stick Season,” eventually releasing it along with another single, “Northern Attitude.” He announced the album with 14 original tracks, starting with a song about growing up in a gloomy environment and ending the album with a song that talks about being caught between the present and past memories of his hometown. 

“This album is for the folks who stuck around, out of choice or out of responsibility. This album is for the restless dreamers, creating universes in their heads. I hope these stories mean to you what they do to me,” Kahan said in an Instagram post

Kahan’s voice is unique, guiding the listeners through songs filled with honest struggles of alcoholism, his parents’ recent divorce, his mental health struggles and facing all the ugly — and good — that comes with growing up in a small town.

Stick Season (We’ll be Here Forever)

After teasing his fans with snippets of the song “Dial Drunk,” on TikTok for ages, a few months after the original album Kahan released an extended version, “Stick Season (We’ll be Here Forever).”

A new rendition of, “The View Between Villages,” is soothing and haunting at the same time. The song explores remembering the ugly from your childhood as well as the good and features voice notes from Kahan’s small town. 

The extended version also features the heartfelt, “Call Your Mom,” and upbeat “Dial Drunk.” 

“So I’ll say this: Let’s live in this moment together. let’s go back to New England, or the Midwest, or wherever we’re from and romanticize our hometowns. Let’s shed our shame and our guilt and our pain and return to ourselves for a little while. Let’s all be here forever,” Kahan said in an Instagram post. 

Collaborations 

When it came to collaborations, there was no pattern for the artists featured on the album. Over six months, Kahan released six collaborations on songs featuring artists like Post Malone, Brandi Carlile and Hozier. 

Kahan first teamed up with Malone for a folk-pop rendition of “Stick Season” with Malone adding another verse building the story further.

In the upcoming months, Kahan released another version of “Call Your Mom” with Lizzy McAlpine, “She Calls Me Back” with Kacey Musgraves, “Everywhere, Everything” with Gracie Abrams and “Homesick” with Sam Fender.

Kahan made interactive puzzles for his fans to figure out who the collaborating artists were, leaving it to the fans to figure out who will be the latest feature. Through the process of dropping the many songs with different artists, Kahan often joked that the collaborations will never end.

Perhaps the best feature was Hozier on “Northern Attitude.” Kahan teased fans for weeks before telling them the song featuring Hozier was arriving on streaming services. It is not an exaggeration to say Hozier’s gut-wrenching scream on the song added another dimension of pain to the four-minute and 27-second track.  

The final two collaborations were with Brandi Carlile on “You’re Gonna Go Far” and Gregory Alan Isakov on “Paul Revere.” 

“I’m grateful and beyond proud to be sharing these two songs with artists that have soundtracked my entire life. Gregory and Brandi have written songs that have carried me through pain, loneliness, dramatic life changes and the entirety of my career,” Kahan said in an Instagram post. 

Stick Season (Forever)

In the two years since we first got to know “Stick Season,” the album expanded from 14 to 30 tracks. The latest re-release includes all the featured songs and a final new song “Forever.” 

In the four-minute and 28-second song, Kahan gently sings about longing, loneliness and belonging. It was the perfect goodbye to the era where the fans grew up, alongside Kahan himself. 

“I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin, more proud of what l was representing in my songwriting and more vindicated by the response to a record that was really an extension of my soul,” Kahan said in a statement.

Stick Season is like a friend that you keep in your heart forever, even if they go away. The songs are filled with melancholy and a longing to belong. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter wrote his most honest and intimate album yet with Stick Season and now it is forever with the fans. 

While it seems it is the end of an era, if you are one of the lucky ones who have tickets to Kahan’s North America summer tour, you get to experience the album live.

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