Noah Kahan | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
Noah Kahan performing during the Stick Season Tour at Emo's Austin in Austin, Texas on January 28, 2023. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Seasons change. Places change. People change. As Noah Kahan changes, he casts those experiences onto songs like light through a film projector. The Vermont singer pens songs straight from the heart and cracks jokes with his signature, self-deprecating sense of humor; he's just changed in all of the right ways (and chronicled them via his songwriting).

After five years of critical acclaim, global touring, and numerous collaborations, Kahan sought an even purer style of writing and arrangement, a challenge from within to convey a vivid representation of what he loves, fears, and struggles with most passionately.

Through his journey from small town Vermont to global renown, he's racked up over one billion streams, released two full length albums (Busyhead, 2019 and I Was / I Am, 2021) and a mid-pandemic EP (Cape Elizabeth, 2020). Noah has remained prolific in 2022 with his single "Stick Season." Rife with fluttering guitar melodies, inviting vocals, and homey imagery of the Northeast on the verge of a change of seasons, the track represents another massive turning point for him.

"I wrote 'Stick Season' without knowing it would become, in my opinion, the most important song of my career," he muses. "It allowed me to finally cross over into the style of songwriting that I have loved my entire life, and the second I finished writing it, I felt a level of comfort and honesty that I had never previously felt since I began my journey in music. Being able to tell a story, and being able to relate it back to my home in New England in such an honest way, made me believe in myself again." Fans reacted immediately and after performing the song live on social media, his followers relentlessly commenting about releasing the song. Noah tested "Stick Season" live on tour to a rousing response, and a fan's video of the moment circulated quickly online. In an instant, Kahan's relationship with his career was altered, his conviction for storytelling and a pursuit of a more organic sound that aligned with the folk music of his upbringing had firmly arrived.

"Stick Season" paints one of his most arresting lyrical pictures yet, likening "feeling left behind and trapped" into the decomposition of leaves on the ground with a disarmingly unfiltered final visual, "Now you're tire tracks, and one pair of shoes, and I'm split in half, but that'll have to do."

"It's about seeing the other side of a place you thought was only beautiful," he reveals. "As a relationship ends, some place or someone you used to look back at so fondly quickly transforms into a memory of pain. The beauty of autumn foliage in Vermont transforms into a brown and gray wasteland as we wait for the first snow. It is an unfortunate but necessary transition, similar in so many ways to the transition from familiar lovers into heartbroken strangers. I like to look at the song as hopeful; winter will come, the snow will fall, melt, and eventually summer will be back in all its beauty. You will suffer, move on, and survive again. The last line speaks to the acknowledgement of the end: an inventory of the pieces left behind and an acceptance of the future."

For as much as he may have changed, Noah's goal stays the same.

"I still want to be able to connect to folks in the way I do and value when I listen to music," he leaves off. "Change is something you can learn from. It's never too late to be a better person and to move forward. Always work on yourself and give yourself a fucking break every once in a while. I hope listeners feel like there's more to learn about me, just like I do when I listen to my favorite artists. I also hope they're happy to stay along for the ride, because I've been so grateful for them so far."
Was the best concert I've been too. I went to his show and him and his band were just absolutely incredible. His voice is just so amazing, I loved that I was able to scream along to his songs and just literally enjoy every second of it, it was the best concert experience I’ve had and I really hope to see him again soon! I love him and his music so much.

Best artist I’ve ever seen! We saw Noah and it was the most engaging, energetic concert I have ever been to. It felt very intimate, like we were all just invited to a jam session instead of a huge concert. Definitely recommend, not only for the vibes & music but also just because Noah is such a chill human. Can’t wait to see him again!

The best concert. Noah said he was having a rough day vocally, but it seemed like he was on key with every note and lyric. The music was amazing and powerful. Not only are the songs catchy, but they're relatable and meaningful. Seeing Noah sing them live made the songs even deeper.

Best time of my life. Noah was amazing! He gave his all in his performance and you could tell he was having a great time. He talked to the audience on such a personal level it made the whole concert even better. I will 100% go see him in concert again.

All my love for Noah. The show is always killer! One song and a handful of questions when in the past he’s sang a few more. Noah’s show was amazing. You can tell he is so much happier and has found himself in his music. He even stopped when there was an issue in the crowd. Love him and his music.

Noah put on a hell of a show! What an amazing show! Noah killed it, such a great set. He is someone to definitely watch out for.
Setlist for the show at Emo's Austin
  • False Confidence
  • All My Love
  • Everywhere, Everything
  • Animal
  • New Perspective
  • Growing Sideways
  • Maine
  • Come Over
  • Northern Attitude
  • She Calls Me Back
  • Passenger
  • Carlo's Song
  • Homesick
  • Orange Juice
  • Young Blood
  • The View Between Villages
  • Stick Season
  • Mess

Noah Kahan was the main act at Emo's Austin with guests Jack Van Cleaf. They continue across the United States, Europe, and Canada with the last stop at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, Ontario on September 17, 2023.

Noah Kahan
web | facebook | twitter | instagram

Photos by Ralph Arvesen
web | facebook | twitter | instagram

Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan Noah Kahan