Steve Morse is best known for being the current guitarist of Deep Purple, replacing Ritchie Blackmore back in 1993. But his passion for rock started long before joining the legendary British group. Out of all the musical endeavors he participated in, the Steve Morse Band is perhaps the most significant and personal one. This instrumental trio is well known for re-inventing rock in all possible ways, mixing it with jazz, country, funk and even bluegrass.
“High Tension Wires” (1989), “Southern Steel” (1991) and “Coast to Coast” (1992) are to this day considered some of the finest albums Steve Morse has ever released. Metal Mind Productions is proud to present the exclusive reissues of those three albums which bring back true classics of one of the world’s most talented rock guitarists…
Steve Morse was born on July 28th, 1954 in Hamilton, Ohio. Although he was learning to play piano and clarinet at that time, guitar ultimately became his instrument of choice. After his family moved to Augusta, Georgia, Morse and his older brother formed a band called Three. The group existed until Morse got enrolled in the Academy of Richmond County, where he met bassist Andy West, with whom he started the musical project initially called the Dixie Grit. The group did not last long, mostly because covering Led Zeppelin or Cream was not widely appreciated by the mainstream audiences at that time. After graduating from the school, Morse and West wanted to continue playing, officially naming their band Dixie Dregs. At one of their performances, they got noticed by Capricorn Records recruiters and, in late 1976, the label offered the group a record deal. Dixie Dregs’ first LP – “Free Fall” – was released in 1977 and, although it received great reviews, the album sales were rather poor. A similar situation occurred after the release of the group’s sophomore offering – “What If” – in 1978. In July, Dixie Dregs got the opportunity to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Their performance was recorded and released the following year as “Night of the Living Dregs”. Soon after that, their label went bankrupt and the band signed a new deal with Arista Records, which released three of their albums – “Dregs of the Earth” (1980), “Unsung heroes” (1981) and “Industry Standard” (1982), the latter being voted “Best Guitar LP” by readers of Guitar Player magazine (Morse was also voted “Best Overall Guitarist” by the same magazine – he managed to maintain that title for five consecutive years before ultimately joining the “Gallery of Greats”, an honor shared only by Steve Howe of Yes). The group disbanded in early 1983, tired of constant touring and label pressure. This became a perfect opportunity for Morse to put his own band together. With the addition of bassist Jerry Peek and drummer Doug Morgan, the first incarnation of the Steve Morse Band was born. After Rod Morgenstein replaced Morgan, the group began working on their debut album in early 1984. Later that year, the band signed to Elektra Records and released “The Introduction”. A second album – “Stand Up” - was released in 1985. 1989 saw the release of Morse's third solo effort entitled “High Tension Wires”, one of the most laid back albums in the guitarist's catalogue. Morse managed to gather the classic Dregs line-up on this offering – the musicians even performed one of their songs called “Leprechaun Promenade”. The rest of the LP was an eclectic mix of various genres, with such highlights as “Highland Wedding” and “Tumeni Notes”. In 1986, Morse took some time off his solo work and joined the rock group Kansas. He recorded two LPs with them – “Power” (1986) and “In The Spirit of Things” (1988). After the promotional tour for the latter album, Morse left the band and, for a short while, the music industry in general. He returned in 1991 with a brand new record released under the Steve Morse Band moniker – “Southern Steel”. The album was a medley of various styles such as rock, jazz, country and folk, combined with a wonderful southern rock vibe. The LP featured a guest performance by guitarist Jeff Watson (ex-Night Ranger) in the opening track “Cut to the Chase” and was considered one of the highlights of Steve’s solo career.“Southern Steel” was followed in 1992 by another album – “Coast to Coast”. Steve’s fifth solo offering was a bit more explorative than his previous LP, again delivering a variety of styles ranging from bluegrass (“Runway Train”) to classical music (“Flat Baroque”). In 1993, during Deep Purple’s tour promoting their “The Battle Rages On” album, long-time guitarist Ritchie Blackmore decided to leave the group. He was temporarily replaced by Joe Satriani but, after the tour was finished, Deep Purple needed to find another replacement. They chose Morse, who became the band’s permanent member and, since then, recorded four studio albums with them – “Purpendicular” (1996), “Abandon” (1998), “Bananas” (2003) and “Rapture of the Deep” (2005). After recording over fifty albums overall, Steve Morse still continues his solo career. His last effort, “Out Standing In Their Field”, was released in November 2009.
The exclusive reissues of “High Tension Wires”, “Southern Steel” and “Coast to Coast” showcase the remarkable talent of this guitar virtuoso. For fans of good old rock music, these albums are absolutely essential. The albums will be available in a new digipak edition each limited to 2000 copies. Metal Mind Productions set the release date for 31st January 2011.