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W3K Featured Writer Steve MorseSteve Morse's career has encompassed rock, country, funk, jazz, classical, and fusion of these musical genres. In addition to a thriving solo career, has been (and continues to be) a member of several renown bands. The six-time Grammy nominee began playing in a band called Dixie Grit with his brother, Dave. After the band broke up, the two remaining members, Steve and Andy West formed the instrumental rock trio called the Dixie Dregs. While at college at the University of Miami (host to a number of future influential musicians, including Bruce Hornsby, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and others), they were joined by other members of Morse's "Rock Ensemble #2", which eventually became the 5 piece Dixie Dregs. Morse's credibility as both a composer and player grew at the U. of M. through his performances with Ensemble #2 and his solo classical guitar recitals.

Upon Steve's graduation, the band commenced performing on a very regular basis, interspersing their compositions with covers of John McLaughlin and southern rock gems. Despite their decidedly non-commercial intent, an increasingly heavier performance schedule eventually led to the attention of Capricorn Records recruiters including Allman Brothers Band manager Twiggs Lyndon and the group was signed by the vaunted southern rock label.

Steve established himself as an important newcomer to the fusion genre, and he was recognized for both his compositional skills and his consummate musicianship. Southern rock, classical, folk and country elements combined to form a cohesive and complex pastiche of passionate and accessible music which gained Morse and his Dregs an invitation to perform at Montreux Jazz Festival.

Notable Dregs' recordings include Dregs of the Earth which charted in Billboard's rock and jazz charts at the same time, and Industry Standard which was voted "Best Guitar LP" by readers of Guitar Player magazine. One of his compositions from the What If album was the opening theme for a BBC radio show for 15 years. Many of these instrumental compositions were used in t.v. and radio advertisements, as well as several movies. During this time, Morse was also voted "Best Overall Guitarist" by readers of Guitar Player magazine five consecutive years (which ended his eligibility by retiring him into their "Gallery of Greats").

After taking a break from the Dregs, Steve began putting together the Steve Morse Band, a trio with Jerry Peek (bass) and Doug Morgan (drums). Rod Morgenstein soon replaced Morgan. The group was signed by Elektra Records, who released The Introduction. This effort included guest vocalists and guitarists (Eric Johnson, Alex Ligertwood, Peter Frampton, Albert Lee, Van Temple), and violinist Mark O'Connor.

While on tour, Steve had supported several bands, including progressive rock trio, RUSH. Steve continued in the genre by joining KANSAS when they reformed in the late 1980s, replacing lead guitarist and songwriter, Kerry Livgren. His tenure with the band yielded two releases on MCA, Power and In the Spirit of Things. During this period, he co-wrote the band's last big hit (thus far), "All I Wanted," which reached the Billboard Top 20 and received heavy rotation on MTV. Morse left the band after touring the final album, but re-joined the band for a 1991 tour.

Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple in the middle of their 1993 tour. Joe Satriani served as a short-term replacement to finish the tour. Afterwards, though, Steve Morse was asked to join the band as a permanent member (and continues to this day). Together, the band has, so far, released four studio and seven live albums.

In 2009, the Steve Morse Band released the hotly anticipated Out Standing in Their Field, their first release in five years. The critically acclaimed album was supported by a US east coast tour. Several dates on that tour featured Steve performing as an opening act, with Sarah Spencer, as Angelfire. Steve had begun working with the young singer in 2007, culminating in the release of an album by the same name on June 22nd, 2010. Angelfire will be a first even for Morse, who has defined his career by exploring and combining numerous genres in novel ways. Stylistically, the album combines folk rock, pop, classical crossover and new age to form a textural, harmony-laden and unique work.

Even after 44 albums, Steve continues to push boundaries and take chances. In addition to his continuing solo endeavors, collaborative projects, and further work with Deep Purple—Steve can look back on an extraordinary career, and forward to near-infinite possibilities as a featured song writer and composer for We3Kings.
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