12 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s a rite of passage for many aspiring musicians to pick up an acoustic guitar and learn a few tunes by the iconic ‘70s singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. So it’s perfectly natural that modern artists such as Michelle Branch, James Morrison, and Gunnar Nelson contribute seamless backing vocals to Roadsinger, the new album from Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. A mostly self-produced project, it features co-production work from Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, KT Tunstall, Martin Sexton) on three tracks. Themes range from the intimately personal to the broadly spiritual, and Yusuf's trademark gift for vivid narrative is alive and well in the title track's literal scene setting and in the beautifully laid out allegory of "All Kinds of Roses." Yusuf can still pen a timeless tune, too; "Thinking 'Bout You" and "Everytime I Dream" have the sounds of instant musical old friends even at first listen. Equally engaging are the warm, largely acoustic arrangements on tracks such as "Welcome Home" and "Dream On (Until...)" which so perfectly frame his comforting voice. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s a rite of passage for many aspiring musicians to pick up an acoustic guitar and learn a few tunes by the iconic ‘70s singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. So it’s perfectly natural that modern artists such as Michelle Branch, James Morrison, and Gunnar Nelson contribute seamless backing vocals to Roadsinger, the new album from Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. A mostly self-produced project, it features co-production work from Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz, KT Tunstall, Martin Sexton) on three tracks. Themes range from the intimately personal to the broadly spiritual, and Yusuf's trademark gift for vivid narrative is alive and well in the title track's literal scene setting and in the beautifully laid out allegory of "All Kinds of Roses." Yusuf can still pen a timeless tune, too; "Thinking 'Bout You" and "Everytime I Dream" have the sounds of instant musical old friends even at first listen. Equally engaging are the warm, largely acoustic arrangements on tracks such as "Welcome Home" and "Dream On (Until...)" which so perfectly frame his comforting voice. 

TITLE TIME
4:23
2:31
3:09
3:26
2:23
3:25
2:02
4:09
2:38
1:56
1:27
3:07

About Yusuf

In the late '70s, the chart-topping singer/songwriter Cat Stevens formally became a Muslim, adopted the name Yusuf Islam, and after the release of his 11th and final Cat Stevens album (1978's Back to Earth), announced his retirement from the pop music business. Largely inactive during the 1980s and '90s, he returned in 2006 with a new studio effort, An Other Cup, under the name Yusuf. In early 2009 he collaborated with "fifth Beatle" Klaus Voormann for a cover version of George Harrison's "The Day the World Gets 'Round." All proceeds from the song were donated to a charity to help the children of war-torn Gaza.

Later in 2009, he released the album Roadsinger. Yusuf toured often during the years after its release, and in 2010 he appeared at "The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear," an event hosted in Washington, D.C. by American satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; Yusuf sang "Peace Train" as a counterpoint to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," while both were topped by the O'Jays' performance of "Love Train." The year 2012 saw the premiere of Moonshadow, a stage musical built around Cat Stevens' best-known songs, which opened in Melbourne, Australia. In April 2014, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In October of 2014, a third album under the Yusuf name appeared, entitled Tell 'Em I'm Gone. The album, produced by Rick Rubin and featuring guitar work from Richard Thompson, saw Yusuf returning to the early blues and R&B that had inspired him as a young man. ~ William Ruhlmann

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