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Major Impacts

Steve Morse

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Album Review

Occasional Dixie Dregs frontman and solo fret shredder Steve Morse tackles a fascinating project here as he plays each of these 11 instrumental tunes in the style of a different guitarist and/or band who was influential on his own technique. From obvious six-string heroes Clapton, Page, Hendrix, and Jeff Beck to more obscure ones like Mountain's Leslie West, Mahavishnu Orchestra's John McLaughlin, the Byrds' Roger McGuinn, with stops at George Harrison, Duane Allman, and Keith Richards, Morse grabs onto riffs, song passages, tones, and direct guitar quotes from these stars then inserts them into original tunes written expressly for this undertaking. Not surprisingly some work better than others. The chunky "Start Me Up" approach of "How Does It Feel" sounds as if the new song was simply rewritten with a few of Richards' trademarked chords. "Led On," Morse's Jimmy Page tribute where he attempts to stuff as much of Page's Indian, blues, and crunch stylized techniques as can be shoehorned into one song, results in a choppy, unfocused, and over-busy jumble. Morse obviously put substantial work, time, and research into this project, and the multiple overdubs, as well as the uncanny way he imitates his idols (the Leslie West tribute "Bring It to Me" is startling in its similarity to the Mountain man's husky style) will have the listener often wondering what album they put on. On the down side, these songs don't successfully stand on their own merits. They sound like they were cut and pasted onto the shell of the guitarists Morse loves, without the melodic structure to qualify as successful tunes in their own right. It's more than simply stringing riffs together, yet nothing here resonates with the impact of the guitarists Morse admires. Still, this is an often captivating and consistently diverse album, and one that guitar students in particular will savor and play repeatedly. But not as much as the discs of the artists from which Steve Morse nicks his licks.

Biography

Born: 28 July 1954 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Steve Morse has enjoyed a healthy following particularly among guitar players, he has scored highly in readers' polls held annually by musicians' magazines. Although initially inspired by the Beatles as a teen, Morse began to expand his listening to include the Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. Although he played a little piano and some clarinet, he became fascinated with guitar after seeing a concert by classical guitarist Juan Mercadal, who later gave the teenaged Morse some lessons. Deeply...
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Major Impacts, Steve Morse
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