Here’s my solution to this, based upon the solution from Erik Hjortsberg.
This will only get called by
make dist or
make distcheck and will only get updated when
configure.ac gets updated, which is where I increment my release version numbers.
# In the top level Makefile.am dist-hook: ChangeLog ChangeLog: configure.ac git log --stat --name-only --date=short --abbrev-commit > ChangeLog