Use the fewest words, sing in the quietest voice, place fingers on strings with the lightest touch. Such are the apparent strategies of Cat Stevens.
In his classic songs, there’s a hush at the core, a whisper willed by a singer in search of focus. Take “The Wind.” The vocal that sits at the song’s center doesn’t seem so much performed as channeled, as if it’s emanating not from the singer, but from the inner mind of the listener.
The only accompaniment: two acoustic guitars that stroke and trace the vocals, forming chords that curl into rounds. Listen closely and you’ll hear a third element - uncredited, but palpable.