Steve Morse has been the lead guitarist with British rock group Deep Purple since 1994, taking the place of the legendary Ritchie Blackmore. He’s equally accomplished as a guitarist, and in some ways I think has surpassed his famous predecessor. Wikipedia says of him:
Morse is considered one of the hardest working guitarists in the world. He is widely known for his stylistically diverse compositional skills and was voted “Best Overall Guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine for five years in a row, qualifying him for its “Guitar Player Hall of Fame”, the only other members being Steve Howe of Yes and Eric Johnson. He is regularly cited by John Petrucci as a major influence. Guitarist Shawn Lane regarded Steve Morse as one of the most talented guitarists of his time. Ritchie Blackmore, who preceded Morse in Deep Purple, has stated, “Steve Morse is an incredible player. A lot of people try to get some wisecrack out of me, but when you’re talking about guitar players along Morse’s caliber, they’re brilliant.” Morse has proven himself throughout his career as capable of playing highly complex chord structures in classical sequences, as well as being able to play fast, alternate picked arpeggios. He is well known for using harmonics and improvising them in songs during live performances, such as in Deep Purple’s “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”.
He not only performs with Deep Purple, but has developed a solo career as well. I’d like to bring you a few of his instrumental pieces this morning, as well as what I regard as one of his highlights with Deep Purple.
Let’s begin with “Air on a 6 String” from his 2005 album “Prime Cuts”.
From 2009’s “Prime Cuts 2” album, here’s “Ghost of the Bayou”.
From 2016’s “The Sessions”, here’s the opening track, “Freedom”.
And, from 2009’s “Out Standing In Their Field”, here’s “Baroque ‘N Dreams”.
Finally, just to show how well he meshed with Deep Purple even from the beginning (he’s become as readily identified with them as was Ritchie Blackmore during the group’s first few decades), here he is with them at the 1996 Montreux Festival performing “When A Blind Man Cries”. To my mind, this specific performance is one of the iconic Deep Purple tracks. Morse truly makes his guitar an inseparable part of the song, setting its theme through a long, impromptu introduction and then meshing with the vocalist to create an indelible impression.
You’ll find lots of Steve Morse’s work on a YouTube channel devoted to his music, and through almost every major music outlet.