The growing grassroots embrace of Al Stewart's music, old and new, is nothing less than a new-millennium phenomenon. Ten years ago, he was 20 years past his Year of the Cat success. He was still recording and performing, but budgets were small and audiences were populated by the rabid and the nostalgic.
What a difference a decade makes. Each season brings performances at ever-larger venues and longer tour itineraries. Sellouts are common, and more than nostalgia motivates concertgoers, who love Stewart classics like "Roads to Moscow" and "Ivich" and also look forward to his new music. It keeps Stewart a vital artist, news known to more and more people every year.
Thank technology for Al Stewart's resurgence as an appreciated singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Using the Internet as a pathway, increasing numbers of people — some old fans, some newbies — have been able to rediscover Stewart's literate, melodic works or to hear and fall in love with them for the first time. Through collectives like the Al Stewart Mailing List (founded by Muffy Barkocy, it's spread the Gospel of Al since the Internet's early days) and the Al Stewart Friends Yahoogroup, the 'Net serves as news conduit and gathering place. Web sites such as Al Stewart - Now and the recently shuttered Page 27 Al Stewart Archives (check it out via Google cache), which lovingly presented all manner of Stewart information. From the turn of the millennium, fans could find information about tour dates and new releases more easily than before the wired world went massive, news that went 'round the globe in an instant.
If top honors are to be awarded for pushing the renewed interest in Stewart's work — beyond the primary credit of course due to the artist himself — the most deserving would be two individuals, both diehard Stewart aficionados who became friends of Al: webmaster and newsletter editor Kim Dyer and Stewart biographer Neville Judd, who produces and markets approved Stewart audio and video recordings and other Stewart collectibles.
I'll be politically incorrect and go with "ladies first":
The direct-mail newsletter Chronicles historically spread the word on all things Al. Founded and edited since the mid-1970s by writer David Dasch, Kim Dyer took the reins in 1995 at the request of Stewart's manager, Steve Chapman. Since then, she has branched out, establishing and teaching herself Web design to create and maintain the official Al Stewart Web site, a font of constantly updated information on Stewart's recordings, tour schedules, photos, collectible news, and altruism opportunities.