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Steve Morse Band: Southern Steel (reissue)

Steve Morse is a versatile and talented multi instrumental artist who has played music in many different genres, including rock, country, funk, jazz, classical and fusion. Morse, a five time Grammy nominee, is also a founding member of the Dixie Dregs, as well as a member of both Kansas and Deep Purple. Steve worked with Jimmy Barnes on his Living Loud and its accompanying DVD, Live in Sydney. What we have here is a new digipack reissue from Metal Mind Productions of this 1991 album .

This is another great album by Steve and his band. It is an instrumental guitar based rock album full of cool riffs and fewer keyboard moments than Steve's other albums. The 'steel works' side of the band for all to hear. There are some great electric guitar riff highlights including "Cut to the Chase" and "Weekend Overdrive". My favorite is the quieter "Point Counterpoint".

Stampeding drums and screaming guitars, ala Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" opens, "Cut to the Chase". The shredding guitars and drums just blast throughout this guitar dream song. Heavy bass and lead guitar weaving their way through the rubble left after the drums smashed everything else. Plenty of Eddie Van Halen like moments. Very cool opener. We're rocking now.

Drums and heavy, swampy guitars open "Simple Simon", before the keys join in to lighten things up. You definitely feel the influence of the power electric and bass guitars on this one.

Cool soft keys open "Vista Grande", for a change, after the heavy guitars from the first two songs. Soft atmospheric electric chords fill the air along with the bass and drums. The guitar solos are just as good as the ones from the first two songs only they stand out more against the cool keys.

"Sleaze Factor" opens with soaring guitar chords and power drums. Great blistering guitar riffs fill the air as the song roars on. The intricate bass work is also a highlight in the middle of the song.

"Battle Lines" is full of interesting keyboards and more, heavy guitar work.

"Southern Steel" opens with a cool southern fried guitar riff that just rips this song open. Then the keys join in to create a complete soundscape supported by drums and bass.

"Wolf Song" starts off slow with cool keys and slow bass and electric. I was expecting maybe a tribute to Howling Wolf, but this is more of a jazzier rock piece. There are a number of cool guitar solos highlighted with the keys, to truly lift the power of the song.

"Weekend Overdrive" opens fast with good bass and wrinkling guitar chords before catching a smooth take off pace and rocking fluidly.

Very cool synths and then grinding guitars open "Arena Rock". With the title, I was expecting more of what I heard on "Cut to the Chase", but this is much different. This is more slow, grinding guitar, supported by bass and drums. Not the arena rock I am familiar with from the '80s. The launching chords are back and they really highlight the song well. The thumping drums really drive home the power.

The best song on the album, "Point Counterpoint", opens with a very nice bass and acoustic guitar romp. This reminds me of some of Steve Hackett's solo work. Beautiful piece to close this heavier rock album.

Track Listing
1. Cut To The Chase (3:51)
2. Simple Simon (3:47)
3. Vista Grande (5:02)
4. Sleaze Factor (3:37)
5. Battle Lines (4:05)
6. Southern Steel (3:54)
7. Wolf Song (3:20)
8. Weekend Overdrive (4:04)
9. Arena Rock (3:59)
10. Point Counterpoint (2:12)

Added: February 28th 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1922
Language: english

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