April 10, 2009

Cat Stevens/Yusuf

After his conversion to Islam, Cat Stevens has been a shadowy figure in the mainstream American press. Stevens, now known professionally as "Yusuf," is in the States promoting a new, soon-to-be released secular CD, Roadsinger. In the best episode of The Chris Isaak Hour I've seen yet, Cat speaks about his religion, his family, and mostly his music. Contrary to conventional wisdom, he seems to have his head screwed on right.

He performs many songs, too, and he although his voice has frayed more than a little, his music sounds great stripped of production touches. Accompanied by Gunnar Nelson (!) on acoustic guitar, Stevens makes a good case for his stature as a songwriter. The show airs on the Biography Channel, rerun this Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

If you want to learn about Yusuf's long musical and spiritual path, the Wikipedia article about him is excellent.