From alternative to country to pop, there is nothing Noah Kahan can’t do.
With the release of the final, upgraded version of his Stick Season album – Stick Season (Forever), Kahan has spent more than a year making the music industry’s dreams come true with this record.
A folk-pop singer from Vermont with long hair and an infinite number of button ups, Kahan’s music focuses on emotions, small-town experiences and other ideas that one would associate with his hometown of Strafford, Vermont. His set artistry doesn’t bar him from interacting with differing genres in his own way — collaborations.
Since September 2023, Kahan has re-released one of his songs with a new artist every month. These collaborations have opened Kahan up to new genres and fan bases, allowing him to go beyond the traditional reach of a breakthrough artist. In just five months, Kahan opened himself up to four genres and six new fan bases.
In September, he re-released “Call Your Mom” with folk-pop singer Lizzy McAlpine alongside an original song with country singer Zach Bryan called “Sarah’s Place.” In October, Kahan released a new version of “She Calls Me Back” with country star Kacey Musgraves.
In November, he featured Hozier’s indie voice on a re-released version of “Northern Attitude.” December brought fellow rising star Gracie Abrams onto “Everywhere, Everything.” Finally in January 2024, Kahan re-released “Homesick” with alternative singer Sam Fender.
The final version of Stick Season features all of these collaborations except for “Sarah’s Place,” as well as a new single “Forever,” a Brandi Carlile feature on a new version of “You’re Gonna Go Far” and a new version of “Paul Revere” with folk singer Gregory Alan Isakov.
While not collaborations, the additional two puzzle pieces of this album “Forever” and an earlier released extended version of “The View Between Villages” were just as monumental. “Forever” brought on a rush of emotions and was the perfect synthesis of Kahan’s angelic vocals and acoustic guitar.
“The View Between Villages – Extended Version” was first released in June 2023 in a separate, collaboration-filled iteration of Stick Season titled Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever). The song begins with the echoing short moments of Kahan singing before the guitar picks up in an emotional strum. Later on, two residents of Kahan’s hometown begin speaking about what it’s like to live there. This helps reinforce the tie between the listener and Kahan’s life, and again raises that heart-wrenching feeling of every emotion at once.
Kahan’s new version of “You’re Gonna Go Far” is a perfect example of how he and another artist can cross-pollinate with one another’s fan bases. I have never heard of Carlile, but after listening to her groundbreakingly powerful vocals in this version, I was left craving more of her music.
While these last two collaborations were the cherry on top of this album, Sam Fender’s feature on “Homesick” still reigns supreme with the emotional experience of his own story intertwined in Kahan’s.
In a touching instagram post after announcing “Homesick” with Sam Fender, Kahan said, “The nostalgia, pride, bitterness, confusion, and anger that Sam wrote about feeling was so similar to what I was feeling about my childhood and my hometown at the time. This song was the final push for me to start writing about my own experiences.”
These collaborations redefined Kahan’s streaming presence and live performances. While touring, he has featured multiple surprise guests at his concerts, many of whom are previously featured artists.
Even when he isn’t collaborating with other artists, music industry heavy-hitters such as Olivia Rodrigo are covering his music. Kahan’s ability to market himself as someone to interact with and collaborate with is a defining reason in his success.
With every new re-released song or interaction with another artist, Kahan’s music is skyrocketing — as are his connections to other musicians.