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Cat Stevens announces short US tour

New Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Cat Stevens is taking the Peace Train back on the road.

The British star announced that he will make 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 October 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 on December 1 in Toronto and hitting Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Stevens said he frequently gets feedback on Facebook asking him to perform more and that it makes him feel guilty "because I'm not doing as much as they want me to do. Then again, I'm 66 years old, and I do take things in my stride."

Stevens, who was inducted into the rock hall this spring in Brooklyn, New York, 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 that's not to say the music business is the same as making music. When I finally reconciled my questions about the issue - where it should be in my life - by that time, I had something to say. I wouldn't be writing songs if I didn't have something to say."

Despite the political climate, with the US fighting Islamic State militants in the Middle East, Stevens said he did not expect his faith to be an issue when he goes on the road in this country.

"I'm afraid that a lot of things that people believe about Islam are totally different from the religion that most of us recognise," he said.

"I was really fortunate that I got to know Islam before it became a headline."

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