Tag Archives: steve morse

The Dixie Dregs Announce “Dawn Of The Dregs” 2018 Reunion Tour

It was back in July that I first heard the rumblings about the reunion tour by all of the original members of the legendary musical group The Dixie Dregs. For those not in the know, this was a very unique and interesting musical collaboration that mixed, Rock with Bluegrass with Country with Fusion and Electric Jazz. I remember the first time that I heard them many years ago that my mental music database just rebooted itself a few times to try and figure it out. Check out the press release below about the full on “Dawn Of The Dregs Tour” that is coming our way in 2018.

The Press Release:
Critically acclaimed and six-time GRAMMY®-Award nominated musical virtuosos, THE DIXIE DREGS (a.k.a The Dregs), are gearing up for a national U.S. tour starting February 28. The performances will mark the first time in 40 years the original band–Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Steve Davidowski (keyboards) and Rod Morgenstein (drums)–will share the stage. Tickets are on sale now.

The “DAWN OF THE DREGS” 25-date tour–with additional dates to be announced soon–will take the band across the country starting on February 28 in Clearwater, FL and make stops in Atlanta, Charleston, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boulder and Phoenix, among many others,before wrapping April 25 in Dallas, TX. For more information about the “DAWN OF THE DREGS” tour and to purchase tickets, visit:http://dixiedregs.com/.

“This tour is the result of the overwhelming requests we’ve received from a loyal audience of diehard Dregheads, and new fans who have never seen us perform live, but discovered the band for the first time through Steve’s membership in Deep Purple, or Rod as the drummer for Winger,” said Dreg’s bassist, Andy West. “We can’t wait to playfor them all,” adds West.

For guitar aficionados, Steve Morse needs no introduction, and his place in the pantheon of guitar greats is certain. But in fact, his career started with the DIXIE DREGS. The band traces its true beginnings to the band Dixie Grit, which started in a Georgia high school with Steve on guitar and Andy West on bass. Dixie Grit morphed into the DIXIE DREGS at the University of Miami School of Music, where Allen Sloan (violin) and Rod Morgenstein (drums) joined up with Steve and Andy, who were the “dregs” of Dixie Grit.
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“Live At Montreux 1978” (DVD) by Dixie Dregs

Artist: Dixie Dregs
Title: “Live At Montreux 1978”
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 3/6/2007
Genre: Fusion Rock/Bluegrass
Rating: 4/5

Filmed during the bands only appearance at the festival to date, “Live At Montreux 1978” captures the incredible set performed by the one and only Dixie Dregs. This is a great presentation of a band that was still a rising star in terms of their career and it’s a fantastic way to watch a younger Steve Morse and Rod Morgenstein show their stuff as well. The festival at the time of this film was still pretty much a Jazz oriented affair so their inclusion of the Dregs based on the bands musical merits was rather exciting and the historic appearance is offered up in full on the DVD. Clearly the bands marriage of Rock sensibility along with Fusion, Jazz and Bluegrass was rather new and interesting for any music fan of the day but it was also very widely accepted and quite Progressive when it came down to it. Opening up with the smooth “Freefall”, Allen Sloan’s violin drives the tune and acts almost as the bands vocalist while Morse adds a duet factor to this. The rest of the guys keep the time flowing and solid with slight flair for good measure. The full lineup of the band was Steve Morse (guitar), Rod Morgenstein (drums), Allen Sloan (violin), Andy West (bass) and Mark Parrish (keyboards) and I am sure that this type of sound was a refreshing change of the way things were done at the festival. Rock bands of all sorts perform there nowadays but back during the filming of this show it was not as commonplace. If you are already a long time fan of the group you might recognize how many of the performances come from the album “Night Of The Living Dregs” and I mean this in the sense that they are the actual versions that you hear on the album itself. The album that the band would have been touring in support of during this time is “What If”.
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“Living Loud” by Living Loud

Artist: Living Loud
Title: “Living Loud”
Label: EMI/Capitol Records
Release Date: 1/6/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

So it seems as though the idea for this little endeavor was based on the fact that Ozzy Osbourne had never sufficiently paid out drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist Bob Daisley for their co-writing contributions on some of his earliest blockbuster tunes when they were all working together. I won’t review all of the legal entanglements that ensued as enough about this has been debated already. From this both Daisley and Kerslake would form a project group of their own and bring in legendary guitarist Steve Morse, keyboard luminary Don Airey and Australia’s number one singer Jimmy Barnes and call the project “Living Loud”. Together the unit would not only compose music of their own but also rework in some respects several of their co-created Ozzy Osbourne contributions – something that the duo had apparently wanted to do for a long time before the troubles even began . These rearrangements would remain very close to that of the originals so listeners would not have any trouble recalling what the actual tune was. Let’s talk about these covers because for lack of a better term that is essentially what the end up as in this point of history. While Barnes might be the number one vocalist in Australia I cannot say enough at how weird it sounds hearing him do these legendary Osbourne tracks. The songs are so ingrained into the Metal fans heads that hearing them with different drumming, additional or less guitar and a different vocal phrasing just comes off as if we are watching some cover band in a bar somewhere. “Crazy Train” lacks the vocal power and loses something under Barnes bluesy rasp while Kerslake doesn’t do any of the drumming patterns he once did and instead keeps it very straightforward. They start “Flying High Again” as a quasi Blues Rock tune and there is too much in the way of added vocal parts that didn’t work for me. Yes the guitar work and overall playing from the members is tight but in the end it all seems over simplified and that was unnecessary. Steve Morse’s solos are probably the best part of the whole album when it comes down to it. My least favorite out of the covers would be “Mr. Crowley” as this rendition is just deplorable but the best would fall to “Over The Mountain” as this came off as the strongest one of the lot.
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“Rapture of the Deep” Special Edition by Deep Purple

Artist: Deep Purple
Title: “Rapture of the Deep” – Special Edition
Label: Eagle Records
Date: 6/27/2006
Genre: Rock
Rating: 9/10

So much positive praise has been written about Deep Purple’s “Rapture Of The Deep” that it almost was expected of the band to release a double CD special edition not long after the initial release. The reaction by the general public to the newest album by these elder Statesmen of Rock was both incredible but yet very richly deserved. It’s 2006 and Ian Gillan now leads the charge with two original members gone off to other pursuits or well-deserved relaxation. Today we find Ritchie Blackmore playing “Renaissance Fair Rock” with his partner Candice Night while Jon Lord chose to retire from touring and recording. In their place we find Steve Morse, an incredible technician on the guitar and Don Airey on keyboards who brings to the table experience gained touring with “insert artist here”. I note it like that for Don’s contributions to Rock music would very easily fill this entire page. Bass and drums are still adeptly handled by Roger Glover and Ian Paice. Gillan can still deliver when you take stock of the whole album and it’s what made me save him for last. His pipes a little softer at times, but when necessary he can belt it out just like he used to. When you listen to the recording you would hardly think that this was a band that was formed some 37 years ago. Tracks like “Money Talks” that are loaded with the signature keyboards expected in a Purple song and “Junkyard Blues” remind you that this band has not yet lost its luster but instead chosen to shine up the model just a little more for the diehard supporters they have kept throughout the years.
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“Live Debut Concert” by Living Loud

Artist: Living Loud
Title: “Live Debut Concert”
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 1/10/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 6.5/10

The names of Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley will be remembered forever as being part of the phenomenal debut by Ozzy Osbourne on “The Blizzard Of Oz”. History and published credits will confirm that the pair not only recorded the album with the Ozzman but also had core writing influence on it. It was argued that the name “Blizzard Of Oz” was a band name and not an album title. After many years of nasty litigation, Osbourne actually released versions of the CD with their performances deleted and recreated by his band of the time. In any event the core creators went on to form a band with other Hard Rock legends such as Steve Morse (guitar), Don Airey (keyboards) and Australian vocal power Jimmy Barnes. The idea was tossed around by Daisley who spearheaded the project and whose desire was to re-record some of the Ozzy classics he helped to create with his friend Kerslake and other musical luminaries. Perhaps this was a good idea in theory but when executed it might not be as one would have hoped. I have to be honest that the whole thing was weird to me because watching someone other than Ozzy sing these classics makes me think “cover band”. While a vocal powerhouse, Barnes hardly has the same vocal register for these tunes and as a result there is a chance to be put off in the difference. Barnes screams a lot and a few times reminded me of Brian Johnson (ACDC), perhaps this was in the way he was delivering the songs. Barnes himself is considered one of the biggest singers to come out of his native Australia. Musically it is pretty sound, with Steve Morse and Don Airey being the real highlight performers of the concert. According to the information about this release, the pair had just finished a Deep Purple gig and then went to the club to perform with this new project after only a short rehearsal period. There are some subtle re-workings in the music but it was pretty cool to hear Morse playing the Randy Rhoads stuff; as he is no slouch in the area of axe-wielding himself. I admit also to being a little jaded to the level of play I witnessed from Tommy Aldridge who became Ozzy’s touring drummer back then. Kerslake while adept on the kit, is definitely no Aldridge and since many years have gone by I was not all that excited by his performance on the DVD. Lee only shows off a couple of times. The band looks like they are having fun, but outside of Barnes there is not a lot of liveliness going on.
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