Yusuf, the rock artist that many still know as Cat Stevens, has ended his musical hiatus. He just revealed his plans to not only release new music, but also go on a short tour of North America before the end of the year. The coming album will be the first from Yusuf in five years.
Sony’s Legacy Recordings is set to release Tell ‘Em I’m Gone on October 27, arriving a few days before the tour. The arrival of the album will mark the first of a series of future releases – Sony will handle new recordings, unpublished material, and other existing catalog items repackaged for distribution.
In December 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that the artist would be added into its class of 2014. Shortly after, he spoke to Rolling Stone about this project. After he expressed his appreciation of the honor, (noting “I don’t see myself holding hands with the lead singer of Kiss”), he explained why the album was taking a while to arrive. “It’s taken time because for a long time, I was involved with putting together a musical of my music in Australia, so that kind of diverted me away from the album for about a year.”
Tell ‘Em I’m Gone will have 10 tracks, five of which will be originals. The other five will be covers for songs like “Big Boss Man,” “The Devil Came From Kansas” by Procol Harum, and “Dying to Love” by Edgar Winter. The chosen tunes pay homage to Yusuf’s youth. “Hidden in the background behind my renowned troubadour persona lurked an R&B alter-self waiting to be let free,” he said in a statement. “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.” Yusuf’s tour of Europe will begin in November. In December, he’ll take his music through North America, starting with Massey Hall in Toronto and ending in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre.