New Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Cat Stevens is taking the "Peace Train" back on the road. He announced yesterday that he'll do a six-city concert tour in North America this December, his first series of shows in the US since 1976. His conversion to Islam followed, putting his music career on hold for a quarter-century. Stevens, who also is releasing a blues album on Oct. 27 produced by Rick Rubin and titled Tell 'Em I'm Gone, is using that stage name along with Yusuf, the name he took when he converted. The performer of 1970s-era hits "Wild World," ''Morning Has Broken," and "Peace Train" has slowly broken back into secular music during the past decade and has made only a handful of semi-public and television appearances in the US.
"I've been a bit slow in coming around to the United States, but there were so many people asking me to do that, that I just felt an obligation," Stevens said in a telephone interview from Dubai, where he lives most of the time now. The title of the "Peace Train ... Late Again" tour refers to his unhurried music career. Only six dates are scheduled so far—starting Dec. 1 in Toronto and hitting Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Stevens, who was inducted into the rock hall this spring, said he had a lot of hesitation about getting back into the music business. "That's something I ran away from a long time ago," he said. "But ... I wouldn't be writing songs if I didn't have something to say."