Photo: Simon Fernandez

Cat Stevens aka Yusef Islam Releases New Album

One week prior to his Glastonbury legends slot, Cat Stevens is pulling the trigger on a brand new full length.

Now known as Yusuf Islam, the 74-year-old musician will be releasing his seventeenth studio LP ‘King of a Land’ on June 16 via BMG / Dark Horse Records.

More than a decade in the making, ‘King of a Land’ includes 12 new songs with words and melodies that paint a vivid picture of a world that embraces the lost lands of truisms and stainless youth, and brings it into touching distance. Yusef’s poetical storytelling takes the listener on a journey toward an alternative universe where happy endings can possibly happen. 

The LP release is preempted by the closing track ‘Take The World Apart’, supported by an animated lyric video created by Peter H. Reynolds.

About his new album Cat said: “Looking at the jagged journey of my music, beginning as I did in the 60’s, I would say this new record is a mosaic. A very clearly defined description of where I’ve been and who I am.” “Sometimes you have to take something apart, to find the peace you’re looking for.”

The album’s artwork was also created by Reynolds, the award-winning Canadian children’s illustrator and is the continuation of a collaboration between Yusuf and Peter that began with the New York Times best selling ‘Peace Train’ picture book in 2021. Peter has created illustrations for each of the songs portraying the album’s lyrical themes that feature in the record’s accompanying booklet. 

Speaking about his work with Cat, Peter said: “Someone pinch me. Illustrating the Peace Train picture book was an honour, but when Yusuf asked me to create the album art and animation for ‘King of a Land’… well, I feel like I’m dreaming. The music and lyrics are truly what the world needs now more than ever.”

Early recording sessions for ‘King of a Land‘ stretch back to 2011 at Berlin’s Hansa Studios – the setting for classic albums such as David Bowie’s ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ – and from there, recording locations moved through the years from ICP Studios in Brussels to La Fabrique in Provence, South of France. Additional overdubs and a 60-piece orchestra were recorded in Air and Angel studios in London, with some key work originally recorded in Cat’s own garage-based home studio in Dubai he calls “Dubville”.  Overseeing the recording process was Yusuf’s long-term producer and later co-producer, ex-Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith. 

‘King of a Land’ is available for pre-order on green vinyl in a gatefold format with a 36 page booklet featuring illustrations by Peter Reynolds.  The CD also features a booklet illustrated by Peter Reynolds – pre-order here. An exclusive edition of the album, pressed on white vinyl, is available from the official Yusuf / Cat Stevens online store along with album merchandise – visit the official store here.

‘King of a Land‘ album tracklisting:

1. Train on a Hill 

2. King of a Land 

3. Pagan Run  

4. He is True  

5. All Nights, All Days 

6. Another Night in the Rain  

7. Things. 

8. Son of Mary  

9. Highness 

10. The Boy Who Knew How to Climb Walls  

11. How Good it Feels 

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Author: Saul Goode

Photo: Simon Fernandez