Historically-minded singer-songwriter Al Stewart's career violates his own "50-year rule," in which he tries to avoid incorporating events less than a half-century in the past into his songs. "Until you have some distance, people get hysterical about overstatement. You have to put things in perspective." But in the past few years, Stewart's 40-year musical output (18 original albums, plus best-ofs) has been the subject of a boxed set (the 5-CD Just Yesterday), a large-scale US reissue program to meet the demand for his back catalogue, and Al's 2002 biography, "The True Life Adventures of a Folk Rock Troubadour" by Neville Judd, has been reissued as an updated paperback. Oh yes, and Al still plays 70 or 80 shows yearly and has a splendid new CD, Sparks of Ancient Light, his second for Appleseed, following 2005's acclaimed A Beach Full of Shells.