Yusuf, or the artist formerly known as Yusuf Islam who is actually the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, has recruited Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton and many more to lend a hand on his upcoming, still-untitled album, due out in the late spring. The LP is the follow-up to Yusuf’s 2006 An Other Cup which represented the singer-songwriter’s most secular batch of songs in decades.
The first single from the new album is called “Boots and Sand,” and will feature contributions from both Macca and Parton. As if the single needed any more marquee name star power, Jesse Dylan, Bob’s son, will direct the song’s video. The song was reportedly inspired by a 2004 incident were Yusuf was denied entry into the U.S. after a case of mistaken identity landed the singer on the “no fly” terrorist watch list. “It’s a slight oddity of a song,” Yusuf said. “The image I had was kind of a cowboy B-movie made in Italy, but the story came from real events, real people.”
Other guests include Michelle Branch and Gunnar Nelson, who appear on the track “To Be What You Want.” Yusuf also says the new album has a more “stripped down” sound compared to the more orchestral Cup, which features the musician’s first experiments with Pro Tools software. “Perhaps I went to town a little bit with the production on the last album,” Yusuf said. “I was just having fun with the new technologies — we have endless tracks on Pro Tools. You can just flow them out and add and add, and I did.”