Customer Reviews: Out Standing in Their Field
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on November 30, 2009
There's probably not a lot to say about Steve Morse that hasn't already been said. He is one of the preeminent guitar talents to emerge in the last thirty years or so, well-versed and displaying incredible virtuosity in so many different styles--rock, jazz, fusion, classical, country, folk, and even bluegrass--while never, ever losing his own unique signature sound. Simply put, the man is a technical genius, a monumental talent, and in my opinion has no peers except maybe Steve Howe, and the late Django Reinhardt and Chet Atkins. Yet Morse is a quiet, gracious, and humble man who prefers to let his guitar do the talking for him when it comes time to "put up or shut up." And that's exactly what he does on the new Steve Morse band album, Out Standing In Their Field.

And talk it does! A purely instrumental album, Out Standing... offers eleven tracks of jaw-dropping musical interplay between bassist Dave LaRue, and drummer Van Romaine. The band provides us with tight compositions that communicate emotiveness, passion, and a quirky sense of humor and evokes a wonderful variety of emotions in the listener. The complexity and brilliance of these compositions never fails to amaze throughout the entire experience, especially the intricate dialogue between the bass and guitar. But don't think that this album is only accessible to musicians--musicians will find much to marvel over, however, the tracks offer plenty of great riffs, hooks, and diversity to speak to and captivate even the most casual listener.

Out Standing In Their Field opens with a rocker. "Name Dropping" kicks in with a monster riff that's like a sledgehammer to the head! With drumming that is clockwork-precise, the riff offers irresistible head banging opportunities that bookend mercurial solos from both Morse and LaRue, and eventually offer solid groundwork for Morse to play melody over. The second song, "Brink of the Edge," follows like a fat rhino charging through, but offers wonderful light and shade contrasts, allowing for gorgeous melody lines to soar in between and over the riffs while Dave LaRue brings some nice, funky bass to the fore. And while we're speaking of massive riffs, "Relentless Encroachment" cannot go unmentioned. Relentless indeed, its heavy, chunky riffing and searing hot solos will satisfy and satiate the largest of rock appetites, yet is counterpointed by the beautiful and languid melodies of tracks like "Unnamed Sources."

And while Steve's heavy rock and roll stylings weave their way throughout the entire album, he never lets you forget there are two sides to the coin. "John Deere Letter" highlights not only Steve's quirky sense of humor, but also his versatility with the country genre, his near god-like finger picking, his signature volume-knob play that sounds not unlike a pedal steel guitar, and some smokin' hot bass work that often plays more like a lead guitar. Once again, the interplay between the bass and guitar is both perfection and insanity all at once! "More To the Point" is another tune that shows Steve laying down solid riff work and allowing for Dave's fine basswork and incredible drumming by Van. Comfortable in his skin, Steve is confident enough to let others shine. But don't think he's a slouch or that he lets down the side in any way! His solos throughout range from stunning and furious fingerwork to emotive tonal poetry and never fail to surprise.

Elsewhere, Steve displays his prowess with classical guitar with beautiful results. "Baroque `N Dreams" is a joy and delight to experience. Understated and elegant, it does indeed use stylings and progressions that speak to the Baroque Era style of classical music while developing a more modern feel as it moves along. However, Steve's unique sonic imprint is all over this track, looking to the Baroque for inspiration but never losing the mark of Steve's special touch of genius. "Flight of the Osprey" is another track that showcases Steve's classical guitar work with a gentle, lilting classical acoustic intro, but delivering a surprise attack as the electric guitar and drums rise above the horizon and come zooming in, strafing the sonic landscape with its machine-gun riffing, dropping low-end bass like bunker buster bombs, and firing off soaring guitar melodies and solos. The song, inspired by Steve's love of aircraft, is one of the shorter compositions on this album, packing so much in that it nearly stuns the senses--be sure to take note of the acoustic guitar as it joins in the attack, unleashing a furious flurry of notes to compliment the electric melody it accompanies.

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention a very special track on this album. Is it the live version of "Rising Power" that showcases the band's tight chemistry and amazing interplay as they jam live on this favorite? Well, no, it's not exactly the one I had in mind. On the song "Time Junction" Steve is joined by a very special guest who adds his own guitar magic to this particular track. Kevin Morse, Steve's son, joins his father in this stunning display of dexterity and precision. This is the junction where the old guard meets the new generation of guitar prodigy. The song displays amazing fingerwork, dueling solos, harmonizing, great riffing, and evokes a variety of emotions across the spectrum; playful, gentle and soothing, and most of all, STRONG! It's a wonderful thing to hear and marks Kevin Morse as a prodigy and future guitar legend in his own right.

Out Standing In Their Field is a tremendous piece of work by a group of world-class musicians. It highlights the band's sense of humor with many clever turns of phrase and quirky plays on titles. And the band photo? It features Steve, Dave, and Van out standing in a field! You've gotta love it! But most importantly, it showcases the Steve Morse Band's virtuosity with many different styles, displays a class of musicianship rarely seen today, and features one of the world's greatest, most talented guitarists at his best. And while this disc is a must-have for any aspiring musician, it offers so much to rock fans and casual listeners alike--providing some familiar and irresistible head-banging landscapes, but also painting them with sounds that will open fans' ears to so many other possibilities. Out Standing In Their Field is impossible to neatly label and file away in some clichéd, predefined niche. It is a fiercely individualistic square peg that defies anyone to try and squash it into a round hole. You simply must hear it to believe it. In wanting to describe this album, "incredible" is the only word that comes to mind, and somehow that's not enough. Not by a long shot.

Brent A. Soileau
The Deep Purple Hub
October 30th, 2009
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on November 23, 2009
If you have any interest, appreciation or are drawn to guitar music in any form, shape or fashion, stop wasting reading this review and purchase this CD. Most guitar-driven music gets, well...boring. The styles and the songs begin to sound the same after the 3rd song, even for listeners who are guitarists. Steve Morse caught my attention in the 1980's when he became exempt from being voted as Guitar PLayer Magazines 'Best over-all guitarist'. Hmmm...had not heard of him much..why is that? I found out then that he is a multiple-grammy nominee..and the Dixie Dregs, the Steve Morse Band were just two of his band outlets. Hmmm. Being a guitarist for a decade, I was bored somewhat, most blues-based-rock guitarists sounds much the same. I went out on a limb, purchased 'The Introduction' and was instantly transported into another realm. I say this, because no guitarist fuses so many styles together into a seamless flow of musical ideas. But Steve is more than about what the masters in various fields say about Steve. The top classical players have total reverence for his style. As do Country players, as do Rock players, as do Celtic players, as do Jazz-rock fusion players, on and on. Great guitarists may be able to play different styles, but when you have the great players of all these styles say that this ONE players crosses over into each style and is a master..take notice. Want more? How about an artist who composes new songs, not arrangements in the STYLE of all the players that influenced him growing into his musical gifting. We are talking about new songs in the style of Crosby, Still, Nash...The Byrds, The Stones, Led Zep, AreSmith, Yes, Genesis, etc. Amazing, those CD's being 'Major Impacts' I & II.

Okay, what about this CD? Just buy it. Steve will send you into breath-taking sweeps and dives of articulate power runs, melodic adventures into the heat of the battle and the cool oasis of lines so beautiful and majestic, you will see the horizon. From power fusion songs like Name Dropping, to some of the fastest country-influence tunes (John Deere Letter) you have ever witnessed. Flight of the Osprey, and Classical Baroque Dreams' will surely send you on your way... This CD is a perfect CD to dazzle even the most jaded music will find yourself at work listening to the CD again and again, with no sign of playing fatigue on the artificial horizon or the blue sky beyond...
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on January 18, 2010
The Steve Morse Band (Steve Morse - guitars, Dave LaRue - basses, Van Romaine - Drums & percussion) turns out a SOLID blend of straight ahead rockers, jazz-influenced jams, country-tinged tunes and an EXCELLENT album overall.
UNBELIEVABLE technical virtuosity is combined with LISTENABILITY - unlike many other "guitar god" CD's, this one is actually ENJOYABLE to listen to.
Just saw the band live at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, and all I could say was "Wow!"...these guys can flat out PLAY....great writing, great production, just great!!! Dave LaRue plays riffs on that Ernie Ball Music Man Bongo 4 bass like I've never seen...he and Steve Morse compliment each other really well.
Steve Morse's compositional creativity shines on this album, and the band crosses musical genres effortlessly and well.
Crank it up and ENJOY!!!
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on July 12, 2011
First, let me say that I am and have been a huge Steve Morse fan and Dregs fan for decades. Morse is not only my favorite guitarist, but has been my favorite composer/guitarist. While the instrumentation on this record is astounding as usual, unfortunately the music falls short on the composition side of the coin. The tunes simply are not soaring masterpieces that I have come to expect from Steve and that is a disappointment. I cannot say how much Morse's music has changed my life for the better, but this record is not in the category of previous Morse (High Tension Wires) SMB (Structural Damage, etc.) or any of the late 70's-80's Dixie Dregs efforts. I hope to hear more inspiration in the future. I know the man has the talent; I just hope he can make the time for another great record or two.
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on December 30, 2009
It's been quite some time since the band's last studio release, 2002's Split Decision, and here it is Outstanding In Their Field.
The title in itself speaks volumes about this band, because each member is an amazing, well-respected musician in their own right.
Dave LaRue and Van Romaine are masters on bass and drums as well as the incredible Morse on guitar.
From beginning to end this disc was well worth the wait.
These guys show on OSITF the many spectrums of music they can play.
From rock to jazz, progressive to country and more.
This cd, as one reviewer wrote,in which I agree, is not your typical guitar-driven album.
In October of this year I was lucky enough to see the band at Boston's Berklee College of Music.
Morse had a short break from Deep Purple and took the opportunity to take the band out on a short East Coast tour to promote the new disc.
What a show! They're just an incredible band! Their playing, like on the new cd, is incredible.
For all you West Coast fans he'll be doing another short tour out your way in early 2010.
If you get the chance check them out, but first pick up the new disc, you'll be glad you did.
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Steve Morse is one of the greatest guitarists in the world. "Out Standing In Their Field" highlights Steve's incredible versatility as a composer and performer. His country roots are on full display, but as quick as lightning delicate melody lines appear, and just as quickly hard rock riffs appear and dissolve into jazz. The Steve Morse Band also features bass master Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine: the three of them meld into an amazing sonic collage, with amazingly tight interplay between them.

This is a purely instrumental album, and that's a good thing: this music needs no distractions from lyrics, and is strong from the first to the last track. Although there's not a dud on the CD, my favorites are the rollicking opening track "Name Dropping" and the fabulous Celtic-influenced rocker "Flight of the Osprey."

"Out Standing In Their Field" is a great CD for anyone who appreciates excellence of musicianship, and I recommend the album highly, especially to those who know Steve Morse mostly for his work with Deep Purple. While I recommend listening to most anything from Deep Purple, if that's the only place you've heard Morse do yourself a favor and broaden your horizons with this CD. You won't be sorry. There was no question from the first measure of "Name Dropping" that this CD deserved five stars.
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on July 23, 2014
This is a great CD filled with wonderful tunes. MAD

Here is the track listing:
1. "Name Dropping" 4:59
2. "Brink of the Edge" 4:43
3. "Here and Now and Then" 5:07
4. "Relentless Encroachment" 4:55
5. "John Deere Letter" 4:43
6. "More to the Point" 4:29
7. "Time Junction" (Kevin Morse, S. Morse) 5:16
8. "Unnamed Sources" 4:31
9. "Flight of the Osprey" 3:21
10. "Baroque 'n Dreams" 3:16
11. "Rising Power" (live)
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on October 16, 2014
This is another awesome CD by Steve Morse and Dave LaRue, all the songs are great. I always know when Steve puts out a CD it is going to be good. Great guitar playing and great bass playing. The drummer Van Romaine is good too. I own over 40 CD`s with Steve Morse on them, he one of the best guitar players ever !
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on January 7, 2010
I hadn't been into Steve Morse until about a year ago. I really became curious to hear praises and raves about him from John Petrucci, and I really became curious about him. Petrucci stated him as his biggest influence, so I just thought...Mmmm..that guy really must have something!! So I started to browse around for his music on the web and listening to some samples and so on. I quickly became a fan!! Wow, love his riffs, his soloing, his composition, his sense of humour, and most of all:his stunning ease to jump from one music style to another, sounding ROCK SOLID in whatever style he chose to it classical, country, bluegrass, hard rock, etc. etc.

I think I already have like 8 of his CDs and this one's definitely one of his best overall. Of course, each record has its own personality, and this one I think pretty much captures his timeless dexterity with the guitar as well as his timeless compositions in a very "updated" way and sound..for the lack of a better word...

And he couldn't find a better lineup to support his guitarwork than bass and drum wizards Dave LaRue (the best bassist alive, in my opinion) and Van Romaine (monstrous drumming!!).

All of it is awesome and keeps you amazed on how good wines...keep just getting better with age!!

Keep up the good work Steve and keep on rocking...You are one of my guitar heroes!!
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on June 18, 2015
Steve Morse is severely underrated. This disc is another example of how ridiculously talented he is. Dave LaRue's bass mastery also shines through while locking tight to Van Romaine's expert drumming. I am still shaking my head as to why they opened for Joe Satriani when it clearly should have been the other way around.
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