Four years removed from his last solo effort, Steve Morse released this latest reminder of how freaking good he is. The new album, Out Standing In Their Field, recorded under the moniker Steve Morse Band, features Morse at the top of his musical and creative game with a little help from his friends; bass extraordinaire Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine.

As most of Morse’s work, though his fantastic guitar playing is featured prominently, the overriding melody of each song is never compromised. The band shifts back and forth between head and solo sections with Morse and LaRue’s instruments chattering back and forth over solid grooves.

Parts hard rock, classical, blues, country, bluegrass and jazz, Morse showcases his mastery of a variety of genres with nothing sounding out of place or unnatural. Even in its faster moments Out Standing is never turbulent, but smooth in the vein of the Dixie Dregs’ good-timey southern fusion.

While I can imagine Morse put a ton of time into writing this album and making sure everything was as precise as it could be, its triumph comes in its feeling of freedom, openness and spontaneity. You’ll get lost in Out Standing and that will feel just fine.

In A Word: Potpourri

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