By Cory Pedalino
Local Kutztown band Risen in November, comprised of a KU grad student and KU alumni, released their debut album, “Changing of the Seasons,” on Oct. 18. The trio features guitarist Eric Michael (’18), drummer Jon Kamor (’18), and guitarist and singer Kean MacLelland (’19, M’21). This marks the first full-length release from the band since their formation in 2016.
The group, which started as a side solo project for MacLelland, quickly found their footing in the Lehigh Valley music scene. MacLelland was previously in a band called Splittree, who signed a two-album record deal with Mozu Records, before the band’s dissolution. MacLelland then began pursuing additional music ventures.
“After the end of Splittree, I had a whole catalog of music, which I felt needed to be heard,” says MacLelland. “When I returned to Kutztown, I had the unique opportunity to meet talented musicians to take my solo music and ideas and make them a reality.”
Risen in November, who write original and alternative sounding tunes, wrapped up recording on their debut, 9-song album in early July. They worked with industry professionals for the mastering, production and distribution. The band had been working on “Changing of the Seasons” since March. More than 200 hours had been put into recording, mixing and mastering. Recording took place at Studio 108 in Cranford, N.J.
The band has been reflecting on their journey to this point. “Over the past few years of playing together, we have really developed our sound and improved our songwriting,” says guitarist Michael. “We have taken the skills and experiences that Kean had in Splittree and made them our own.”
MacLelland adds, “This group is completely different than the bands of my past. Here, there is no pressure. When you are young and signed to a deal and have to tour, there are pressures that you are not always ready to face. With “Risen in November,” we have the control now. I am once again enjoying creating art with friends who are just as passionate. These songs are all windows into my life and the things I was experiencing during those specific times.”
Risen in November released six singles from the album to build anticipation and announce themselves to local music fans. One single, “Fast Approaches Winter” discusses the feeling of loss. The song follows two different, but intertwined, stories, one being about the death of a high school teacher and the other about sorrow in the cold of winter.
“The title of the album, ‘Changing of the Seasons,’ is reflective of the movement of the album. Each part correlates with a season, event, mood or title of a song,” said Kamor. Song titles include “End of July,” “Hurricane Season” and “Interlude of Winter.”
While the group is relieved the album is completed and out, they are already looking forward to the band’s future. Plans for a follow-up album are already in the works, and the band plans to have new singles released by the end of 2019.