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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
As a barely adequate rhythm guitarist, I'm hardly qualified to proclaim that Steve Morse has the very best guitar chops in the known universe. Certainly, few would argue that the man truly has an amazing technical prowess, but then again, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and a host of other "guitar heroes" have their share of worshipers in that regard. I believe that Mr. Morse's accomplishments as a composer are what truly set him on a musical pinnacle. The way he seamlessly combines rock, jazz, country, Celtic, and baroque/classical elements into his work are what put me in awe. One reviewer described his compositions as "manic," but to me, that's entirely too limiting an adjective: despite his usually high-energy approach to music, Morse's work shows an incredible scope and depth of musical vision.
For those who have only experienced Steve Morse's work through the Dixie Dregs, Kansas, or Deep Purple, "High Tension Wires" is perhaps the best introduction to his post-Dregs compositions. As a previous reviewer related, "Highland Wedding" is truly an amazing piece, and I had it played at my own wedding, to the dismay of a few older relatives.
Mr. Morse has been showered with much adulation for his guitar talent, and deservedly so. However, I believe that, decades from now, he will be admired more for what came from his head than from his fingers. HJ
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2002
If you are unfamiliar with Steve Morse, this is the album to start with. Arguably his best of all time (and, according to interviews with the man himself, his personal favorite). While the guitar playing is as technically proficient as anything he's done (and that's a damned sight better than nearly any other guitar player in the world), what sets this album apart is the breadth and genius of his composition.
Unlike many other virtuosi electric guitar players (think Satriani) whose albums are often spotty - moments of sublime genius and talent interspersed with many tracks that are either repetitive-sounding or mere doodling - Steve Morse never produces a throw-away track. Each one is wonderful, and each one is very different in feel and musical heritage.
If you are a guitar player, love the guitar as an instrument, or just want an opportunity to hear some fantastic music, this one is a "must have" for your collection.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 1999
Steve Morse is often labeled a "guitarist's guitarist." In other words, you have to play guitar to enjoy his music. While that may be true for some of his cd's, it's simply not the case with "High Tension Wires."
"High Tension Wires" is filled with great songwriting where song and melody are blended with incredible technique to create amazing music. The songwriting on this thing blows me away every time I listen to it.
My favorite cut is "Highland Wedding." It in itself is worth the price of the whole cd. However, this isn't a cd with just one or two good songs. It is solid throughout and sounds great as a complete listen. It's rare when I listen to just one cut...I generally consume the whole thing.
I wholeheartedly recommend this cd.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2003
I was 22 years old when I bought this CD.At that time I didn't know Steve Morse at all. When I put it on my player, I was blown out: the intro of "ghostwind" was simply great and its development was even more astonishing. I remember that I thought that the first track was the best one and that the other ones were surely not on the same level as the first (I was used to listen to guitar players that sold their album thanks to only one or two tracks). Well, I was wrong: here every track seemed to be better than the previous one and eventually when I finished to listen to the last one I realized: this guitar player is incredible not just for his superb technique but above all for his genious mind! Why he is not famous in Italy? (Before Deep Purple it was very difficult to find his albums.)
His work is a mixture of various influences all blended together, it is hard to classify it. You will love this album either you like rock, or heavy, or pop, or jazz, or new age, or classics, or country...
Steve has collaborated with many great artists and bands of different generes during his career (Barrueco, Petrucci, McLaughlin, Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Deep Purple...): this means that he is obviously very well appreciated and shows his great passion for all different kind of music.
I'm not exagerating if I say that it's a must have for everyone!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 1999
Having listened to just about all of Steve's work, from the Dixie Dregs to Kansas and his solo career, I can honestly say this is by far his best work to date. I'm a musician myself; and believe me, this album proves he is much more than the most versatile guitarrist around, but simply a superb musician and composer. Go Steve!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2007
If you are like me then you didn't know Morse at all until you picked up one of the latest Deep Purple albums. "Who is Steve Morse?" Fans and reviewers praise him as a guitar genius. Why hadn't I heard of him? Oh, wait. He was credited as a guest guitarist on Triumph's "Surviellance" album. Maybe I had heard of him.

The reason I wasn't familiar with the Steve Morse genius is that he has played in bands outside my usual arena of music - Dixie Dregs, Kansas and the Steve Morse Band. Hearing him in DP has given me a chance to discover an amazing world of music outside the hard rock/metal arena. And that's the point I want to make of this album. There is not much here that a die hard metal guitarist can bang his head to, but for someone who loves the guitar - both for beautiful composition and talented playing with a variety of sounds - this album will impress. For details on each track, for the sound and the style and the feeling of enjoyment, I refer you to the well-written reviews above. My only word of caution is this: if this is your first venture into the Steve Morse guitar universe after hearing him with Purple then be prepared for a very different feel. This is not a rock album to jump around and shout about. This is a guitar album to be enjoyed deeply and appreciated for its musical brilliance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2004
In the 80s I was always looking for a guitarist who had chops but could also write great music. First came Satriani's Surfing With The Alien in 1987 and then this great album in 1989. High Tension Wires starts off with the relaxing and beautiful Ghostwinds, one of my favorites. The next song The Road Home is more upbeat and has some nice melodies. Country Colors is another relaxing song with a verse/chorus structure and a nice piano part in the middle. Highland Wedding has a beautiful finger picked inro on electric classical guitar which turns into a Scottish dance, another one of my favorites. Third Power has some very interesting rhythms in 3/4. Looking Back and Leprechan Promenade are not my favorite songs but they have a lot of interesting guitar work. Fans of shred guitar will be blown away by Tumeni Notes and Steve's quick pickin. Endless Waves has some fine acoustic guitar playing with keyboards. The album closes with Modic which has Steve playing by himself on classical guitar. All in all a great album by one of the most versatile guitarists in the world!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2003
This album is the first Morse's solo effort. He founded the jazz-fusion (actually jazz, rock, country, classical) band Dixie Dregs in the seventies and released with them six superb studio albums. On this solo record, Steve is backed by some of the other Dixie members. The music is nonetheless much more melodic. The opening track is a beautiful track where Steve's guitar is accompanied by Allen Sloan's sensitive violin. 'Tumeni notes' (read too many notes) is a tribute to Bach, with a fast pace à la Malmsteen. 'Leprechaun promenade' is a track that was previously played with Dixie Dregs on the record 'Dregs of the night'. It is full of rythm changes. 'Modoc' is an acoustic piece, it is briliant. The other tracks are full of emotions. Every song is good and all in all, this album deserves to be listened to by every music lover on earth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2004
I am a little reluctant to say that I well remember a feeling of dissappointment when I first got this CD some 15 years ago ... I suppose I just wanted Morse to let fly, and this is an album where he is ( mostly ) restrained and plays "acoustically" ... However, if I now look back at Steve's catalogue and think of tracks which radiate the sheer beauty of ( for example ) "Night meet Light", more than most are on this album.

I have been currently loading all my albums onto a brand new mp3 player ( NO , not an iPod )and this album is a wonderful and unique one in the 16 or so SM albums I have .... if you dont have this album, you are missing yet another facet of Steve Morse that is only touched on on other albums ( Point / Counterpoint etc ), Celtic feel, clean acoustics, wonderful production, great songs which build superbly

To me, this ranks as the "very best" of a pile of "bests"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2010
Several other reviewers have mentioned the quality of Steve Morse's composition as what sets him apart from other guitarists. While I wouldn't disagree with that, I would say that the quality of his composition sets him apart from almost all other musicians - period.

Almost all of Morse's compositions would sound just fine re-arranged for a symphony orchestra. Even some of his most technically brilliant guitar solos would transfer quite well - if you could find orchestral players who are actually that adept.

As a guitarist, Steve Morse is so versatile that I'm pretty sure he scares guitarists who have made a particular type of music their life's work - and who are at the top of the pile in their genre - so much that they figure he could take their gig any time he wants. Rock? No problem. Country? He can chicken-pick better than anybody. Classical? His classical guitar compositions put many composers who have made that instrument the entire basis of their musical career(s) to shame. And then there's the pure "Morseiana" that defies categorization.

There are only a few instrumental virtuosi who combine such technical skill with such compositional talent. Chick Corea comes to mind, and not a lot of others.

I had the pleasure of meeting Steve briefly at a concert my band played at several years ago. There were several other 80's giant bands there and Steve was playing with Deep Purple. The other guitarists for the other bands showed up in their tour buses, with their aging groupies, their bodyguards, their multiple guitar techs and multiple racks of guitars. Not very friendly, from what I could tell.

Steve Morse showed up in a taxicab carrying the guitar he'd made himself when he was at the University of Miami, and a luthier-made copy of the same guitar. He took them into the small break room where all of us non-stars were hanging out and began setting them up himself. Very friendly; very down-to-earth, and in possession of about 100 times more talent than all of the other players in the 5 other bands on the gig that day - put together.

Good guy, GREAT guitarist, fine composer. What else could anyone ask for?
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