Widely hailed as an innovative alternative to the more standard tribute album, Morse's "Major Impacts 2" concept sees him paying tribute to his influences -- not with direct covers but with original tracks that recall the style of his heroes, filtered through his own interpretive sheen. Not only does it showcase his incredible versatility and inventiveness as a guitar player, composer and interpreter, it also provides a window into how he became the guitar player he is today.
"When Magna Carta came to me with the idea, I liked it immediately because it was such a challenge," Morse recalls. So many people do tribute albums where they simply cover the songs, but this was so totally different: I didn't want to fall into the trap of being derivative, so I tried to come up with a few things that would identify a style and what that artist or composer has meant to me."
In deciding whom to pay homage to on the record he deliberately avoided targeted research, choosing instead to rely purely on his long-term musical memory. As such, we hear flavors of bluegrass and Cajun music Morse heard as a teenager in Georgia (he even plays his grandfather's fiddle on one track, "Ghost of the Bayou"); the swinging '60s sound of The Yardbirds and The Hollies ("12 Strings on Carnaby St."); Bach counterpoint ("Air on a 6 String"); guitar interpretations of Keith Emerson's organ playing ("Organically Grown") and Steven Tyler's distinctive vocal style ("Errol Smith").
Like its predecessor, "Major Impacts 2" features the guitarist's regular collaborators and Steve Morse Band members: bassist Dave LaRue and drummer/percussionist Van Romaine. Morse, who also played all keyboard parts and violin, produced the album, his third on Magna Carta.
Founding member of the fusion rock band, Dixie Dregs, and a member of Deep Purple since 1996, Morse adheres to the notion that his approach to playing and writing hasn't changed over the years, despite the many hats he wears and style bases he covers. Indeed, it's his chameleon-like musicianship that is captured so perfectly on the multi-faceted "Major Impacts 2".