Considered a guitarist’s guitarist, Steve Morse has carved out quite the reputation as a six-string virtuoso dating back to his origins in rock-fusion juggernaut The Dixie Dregs right up through a highly respected solo career and stints in Kansas and supergroups including Living Loud, Angelfire and Flying Colors. Never one to rest on his laurels, Morse is taking a break from his current gig as lead guitarist for Deep Purple and is out on the road with the Dregs as part of a highly anticipated reunion.
The Ohio native took some time out to share who some of his favorite string-benders are and why.
Eric Clapton (March 30, 1945-present)
“He made the blues a feeling for a young kid. Same thing with Walter Carlos and the synthesizer and Bach—it made classical music a feeling for a kid. Eric Clapton—always melodic and great phrasing. And he was such a great learning platform for a kid.”
Jimmy Page (January 9, 1944-present)
“He had the great riffs and sound, production ideas. And again, the idea of taking the blues and bringing them to such an appealing level for a teenager who hadn’t been exposed to it.”
John McLaughlin (January 4, 1942-present)
“John bridged the jazz-influenced music with some rock elements. We took off from that having obviously been influenced by Mahavishnu Orchestra. [Because of him], we knew we were going to be an instrumental rock band with lots of diverse sounds.
Steve Howe (April 8, 1947-present)
“Steve was the first guitarist who showed me that it was OK to play classical guitar and electric guitar and that variety of sound was an important thing.”
Jeff Beck (June 24, 1944-present)
“I always admired his phrasing and ability to explore the quirky and melodic side of the guitar. He did it without effects, even though he did use effects. But even without effects, he could be so amazing.”
Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942-September 18, 1970)
“He was pure creative innovation and a very colorful player.”
Joe Walsh (November 20, 1947-present)
“What a great American phrase-maker. He was the guy who would take a breath between each phrase when he would solo.”
George Harrison (February 25, 1943-November 29, 2001)
“He was always thinking outside of the box with the sitar-like things and he had the restraint to be able to wait until the end of a vocal to put in a little lead flourish. That was the old-school style. Plus the blues guys would do that—say a phrase and then respond with the guitar. George Harrison sort of did that with rock-pop songs and was really able to lay back and stay out of the way. But when it came to guitar, he was there and very melodic.
The Dixie Dregs will be appearing on March 15 at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. For more information, visit www.theparamountny.com or call 631-673-7300. The Dregs will also be appearing on March 16 at Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., NYC. For more information, visit www.the-townhall-nyc.org or call 212-307-4100.