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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Tell 'Em I'm Gone'
Artist - Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Tell 'Em I'm Gone is the first new Yusuf album to be released since 2009's acclaimed, Roadsinger. Recorded all over the world, including Los Angeles, Dubai, Brussels, and London, the album features 10 brand-new studio recordings, including five originals and five carefully-chosen cover songs.

For those expecting a certain sound from Yusuf, well, lo and behold it's a modern R&B album recorded in 2014! Admittedly, Cat Stevens is not known as an R&B artist and some of the songs sound more pop than R&B. Still, there is a clear R&B slant to the material.

To my ears, the audio quality sounds quite good. Perhaps this was due to the recording technique as described in the liner notes: "Much of the album was laid down live, and that is probably quite unique in today's pre-sampled digital world. You can definitely hear it."

It sounds like they even watched the VU meters. While there is evidence of compression used, I don't hear much by way of the loudness wars in how this album was recorded. The left some dynamic range in the mastering. This is refreshing in these days of "the louder the better."

Yusuf's voice is still in fine shape. His lyrics are engaging and worth listening to with a careful ear. Some lyrics are auto-biographical and reflective of Yusuf/Cat Stevens' growth and introduction to the music industry. Some are reflective of the harsh and often unfair treatment that he received after his 1977 conversion to Islam. The entire album gives a sense of a mature musician who handles his craft now as well as ever.