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About a musician, Steve Morse (Part 3)

The first part covered Steve's early career, and the second part covered his development period as a world-renown musician. This 3rd part covers his career from his 50s onwards to the present, which is generally considered the culmination of one’s life.


In the 2000s which corresponds to his late 40s to early 50s, in addition to his stable work with Deep Purple, Steve continued his activities with his roots Dixie Dregs and Steve Morse Band, and also developed various new side projects.


This trend led to the formation of Flying Colors, which can be said to be Steve's third original band after Dixie Dregs and Steve Morse Band, in 2011 when he was 57 years old.


【table of contents】


1. Formation of Dixie Dregs (1975, age 21)

2. Solo career and formation of the Steve Morse Band (1983, age 29)

3. Participation in Kansas (1986, age 32)


4. Steve Morse Band/Dixie Dregs’ restart (1988, age 34)

5. Participation in Deep Purple (1994, age 40)

6. Pursuit of diversity (2000s, late 40s)

  • Co-starring with Manuel Barrueco (2001, age 47)

  • Living Loud (2003, age 49)

  • “Major Impacts” series (2004, age 50)

  • Angelfire (2007, age 53)


Part 3: Flying Colors and original Dixie Dregs reunion

7. Formation of Flying Colors (2011, age 57)



7. Forming Flying Colors (2011, age 57)

In 2011, Steve was invited by a producer Bill Evans to form Flying Colors with veteran multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse (keys), a standout idea man from Dream Theater Mike Portnoy (drums), his longtime bandmate Dave LaRue (bass), and promising young singer-songwriter Casey McPherson (vocals/guitar).


The band has released three studio albums, “Flying Colors” (2012), “Second Nature” (2014), and “Third Degree” (2012), as well as three live albums and Blu-Rays recorded during the accompanying tours.


After recording the live album “Third Stage: Live In London” accompanying the release of their third album, the pandemic hit and they were forced to suspend their activities, but in March 2024 they resumed their activities for the first time in five years with Cruise to the Edge.


Their music is characterized by a good blend of pop-friendly listening and maniacal virtuosity, and I think they are a wonderful band that can be said to be the culmination of Steve's career as a musician, with a perfect harmony of instrumental progressive rock techniques in the style of Dixie Dregs and Steve Morse Band, and vocal writing techniques in the style of Deep Purple and Angelfire. 


Fortunately, you can enjoy many high-quality live videos of this band on YouTube, including “Flying Colors - Third Stage: Live In London” posted on the label's official YouTube channel.


Flying Colors - The Storm (Live Music Video) (2013, age 59)


When they first formed, they had a small repertoire, and they also played cover songs of their respective bands.


This Dixie Dregs classic “Odyssey” was covered on Dream Theater's album “Black Clouds & Silver Linings” (2009), with Jerry Goodman on violin.


Flying Colors - Odyssey (Live In Europe) (2013, age 59)


In “Better Than Walking Away”, Steve's compact, yet emotional and imposing guitar solo is very impressive in the relaxed ballad.


Flying Colors - Better Than Walking Away (Live in Europe) (2013, age 59)


This is a live performance by Steve Morse Band held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This is one of the few full concert videos where you can hear songs from Steve Morse Band's latest album, “Out Standing In Their Field”, released in 2009.


Steve Morse Band (2013, age 59)


This is a video of Deep Purple's 2014 Budokan performance. Contact Lost and The Well-Dressed Guitar are also included as highlights of Steve's guitar performance. 


2015 Contact Lost (2015, age 61)


2015 The Well-Dressed Guitar (2015, age 61)


This video captures and analyzes Steve's superhuman picking technique, and I think it will be valuable information for guitar students.


Steve Morse Lesson: Arpeggio Picking (The Steve Morse Interview, Chapter 6) (2015, age 61)


It's well-known that Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci is a big fan of Steve Morse, and this is a video of the two of them talking at NAMM 2017.


They both have the same band management and use Ernie Ball Music Man signature guitars, so they apparently hold many joint events. There are several articles about the two of them talking, including the one below.


By Joe Bosso published 29 June 2022


John Petrucci and Steve Morse in Conversation at NAMM 2017 (2017, age 63)


Here are some funny videos like the one below.


Paul Gilbert, Steve Lukather, John Petrucci & Steve Morse Crash the Ernie Ball Stand! (2017, age 63)



8. Reunion of the first Dixie Dregs (2018, age 64)

In 2018, the Dixie Dregs temporarily reunited with the original members from the release of their first album “Free Fall” (1977), including Steve, Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Steven Dawidowski (keyboard), and Rod Morgenstein (drums), and toured 20 locations across the US mainland for about two months from March to April.


On this reunion tour, they also played rare songs such as “Day 444” from “Unsung Heroes” (1981), which had rarely been performed live.


2018 Dixie Dregs Live from the Bearville Theater in Woodstock, NY on the Dawn of the Dregs Tour (2018, age 64)


In 2019, Flying Colors' third album, “Third Degree”, was released, and a series of live performances over the following year were released on CD and Blu-Ray. Below are some of them.


Flying Colors, The Neal Morse Band - Morsefest 2019 Disc 1 (2019, age 65)


In “Peaceful Harbor”, you can hear Steve's nearly two-minute long guitar solo at the end of the song.


Flying Colors - Peaceful Harbor (Third Stage: Live In London) (2020, age 66)


Flying Colors concludes each of their three studio albums with a 10-minute masterpiece typical of a prog band. On “Third Stage: Live In London”, which features a live performance from 2020, you can enjoy all of their performances. 


Flying Colors - Crawl (Third Stage: Live In London) (2020, age 66)


Flying Colors - Infinite Fire (Third Stage: Live In London) (2020, age 66)


Flying Colors - Cosmic Symphony (Third Stage: Live In London) (2020, age 66)



9. Withdrawal from Deep Purple and return to roots (2022, age 68)

In July 2022, Steve announced his departure from Deep Purple after 28 years in order to accompany his wife Janine, who was fighting an illness.


The following February 2023, he published his first book in 30 years, “Steve Morse: Melodic Rock Guitar Concepts: Master Melodic Rock Soloing with the Dixie Dregs & Deep Purple Guitar Virtuoso”, which details Steve's way of constructing guitar solos.


Steve has been actively holding clinics since he was young and has been focusing on teaching the next generation, and this video shows a part of those activities. 


Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp Steve Morse Deep Purple Highway Star Practice January 2022 (2022, age 68)


What I've recently come to realize about Steve is his indomitable spirit as a performer. 


He now suffers from osteoarthritis in his right wrist, and the wrist-based picking technique he learned in his youth can no longer be used due to the pain in his joints. However, in order to overcome this major problem that could end his career as a performer, he is learning several new picking techniques.


It is not very easy for a performer to change the playing style that he or she has been familiar with for decades. It is surprising that he is still working on it after his 50s and 60s.


The new picking technique that Steve is currently using mainly involves moving his arm widely from the elbow to minimize the movement of his injured wrist.


It is a picking style with a large movement of the arm that is usually taught as a typical example of “bad style” if you go to a guitar class, but it is amazing that he controls it so finely. 


However, this does not mute the strings with the right hand sufficiently, so the open strings will inevitably sound. Therefore, to support this new picking technique, he invented and uses a mute that can be easily switched on and off on the neck side of the guitar. 


In the following long interview, conducted in 2023, a wide range of topics are covered, from the start of his career, such as his interactions with Jaco Pastorius at the University of Miami, to his recent activities. He also talks in detail about his wrist injury and how he overcame it.


The Steve Morse Interview: From The Dregs, to Deep Purple and Kansas (2023, age 69)


Steve has been flying planes as a hobby since 1975.


This video, which records a memorial event for a fellow aviator who passed away young, shows his side as an aviator and his side as an ordinary person integrated into the local community where he lives. It is also valuable in that you can see a duet performance with his son Kevin Morse.


I had heard that Kevin played the guitar for a long time, but this was the first time I heard him play. His advanced playing techniques including accurate picking, inherited from his father, are truly impressive and I hope to see him play on an even bigger stage in the future.


Celebration of Life - NIKOLAY TIMOFEEV (2023, age 69)


And in 2024, Steve fully restarted his original music, Steve Morse Band and Dixie Dregs. Moreover, this time, Dixie Dregs features Dream Theater virtuoso Jordan Rudess as a guest keyboardist, so this is a really amazing lineup.


At the end of this article series, I would like to introduce some of the best footage from the “Anachronicity Tour 2024” that Steve led with these two bands from April 18th to May 22nd. 


More and more videos from the tour are being released as I write this article, so I would like to add more if I find any good ones.


First of all, this is a digest version of the first half of the “Anachronicity Tour 2024”.


Steve Morse Band and Dixie Dregs (2024, 69-70 years old)


“Vista Grande” from “Southern Steel” (1991) is one of the band’s favorite songs, according to Dave’s words. The relaxed melody of the theme played by Steve is beautiful, and Dave's bass line that supports it is very elaborate and interesting.


STEVE MORSE BAND Performs VISTA GRANDE With a Lot of Tapping on Fretboards in Clearwater, FL 4/27/24 (2024, 69-70 years old)


The song “I'm Freaking Out” from "Dregs Of the Earth” (1980) was at the top of the list of songs that fans wanted to be featured on the “Anachronicity Tour 2024”. On this tour, Jordan Rudess' (Key.) solo is fully featured.


DIXIE DREGS - I'M FREAKING OUT After JORDAN's Incredible Leadin & Rotating Solos in Clearwater, FL (2024, 69-70 years old)


This is a gorgeous version of “Bloodsucking Leeches” from the first Dixie Dregs' last album “Industry Standard” (1982), featuring Mark O'Connor (Vln.), performed by a seven-person band including members of the Steve Morse Band.


May 14, 2024 (2024, 69-70 years old)


This is a video introducing the equipment, and you can see not only Steve, but also a rare interview with Andy West (Ba.).


Dixie Dregs' Steve Morse & Andy West Rig Rundown Guitar & Bass Gear Tour (2024, 69-70 years old)


The following two are the only full concert videos of Steve Morse Band and Dixie Dregs from “Anachronicity Tour 2024” that I found as of May 25th.


Steve Morse Band (2024, 69-70 years old)


Dixie Dregs Ramkat (2024, 69-70 years old)



Go to Part 1


Go to Part 2

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