Published Sep 15, 2014These days, legendary singer-songwriter Cat Stevens goes by Yusuf, and he's currently preparing to release his first new album in five years. Tell 'Em I'm Gone will drop on October 27 through Legacy Recordings.
The album was produced by Yusuf along with Rick Rubin, while the songwriter co-mixed the songs with Paul Samwell-Smith, formerly of the Yardbirds. Sessions took place in Los Angeles, Dubai, Brussels and London. Guests include Bonnie "Prince" Billy and frequent Will Oldham collaborator Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Zwan), harmonica vet Charlie Musselwhite, onetime Fairport Convention member Richard Thompson, and Tuareg outfit Tinariwen.
Half of the 10 tracks are originals and the other half are covers. According to a press release, the results find Yusuf "[returning] to the roots of his teenage musical inspiration: American blues and R&B." The title track is an adaptation of the traditional working song "Take This Hammer."
Below, hear Yusuf's cover of Edgar Winter's "Dying to Live."
The tunesmith said in a statement:
Although I was to venture through many lyrical terrains, melodious valleys and cadences during my 50-year musical and spiritual exploration, and though many would agree that I have covered a lot of ground, there was always one path I meant to take. Hidden in the background behind my renowned troubadour persona lurked an R&B alter-self waiting to be let free. What's powerful and profound, to me, is the overall message which emerged, lyrically. It suddenly stared me in the face: the innate struggle for Freedom! Isn't that what most human beings dream of? Music and the blues particularly was a means of escape for many chained to the destiny of the rich and powerful.
Scroll past the tracklist below to see Yusuf's tour schedule. It includes a Canadian stop in Toronto in December.
Tell 'Em I'm Gone:
1. I Was Raised in Babylon
2. Big Boss Man (Jimmy Reed cover)
3. Dying to Live (Edgar Winter cover)
4. You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell cover)
5. Editing Floor Blues
6. Cat and the Dog Trap
7. Gold Digger
8. The Devil Came From Kansas (Procol Harum cover)
9. Tell 'Em I'm Gone (traditional)
11/04 London, UK - Hammersmith Eventim Apollo
11/09 Brussels, Belgium - Forest National
11/11 Milan, Italy - Mediolanum Forum
11/13 Vienna, Austria - Stadthalle
11/16 Paris, France - Zenith
11/20 Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom
11/23 Hamburg, Germany - CCH 1
11/25 Dusseldorf, Germany - Mitsubishi Electric Hall
12/01 Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
12/04 Boston, MA - Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre
12/07 New York, NY - Beacon Theatre
12/09 Chicago, IL - The Chicago Theatre
12/12 San Francisco, CA - The Masonic
12/14 Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre