DVD Release Party for The Danny Morris Band
Former Nighthawks Guitarist Issues Live Concert Video
Danny Morris will release a DVD filmed at a beachside club capturing the guitarist' stunning live performance and tight rhythm section of Mike Tolnay on bass and Chris Waldron on drums. Already receiving pre-release rave reviews, the DVD audio was recorded, produced and mixed by Morris himself. "The video captures all the spontaneity, energy and interaction of our live performances that our fans love to see each show," he says. "It's a straight-ahead, rockin' show by three real-live musicians playing real-live music with no overdubs, sequences or pre-recorded anything."
Danny Morris took the blues to the beach. But while strolling the shoreline, the former Nighthawk guitarist picked up a few more genres. Morris incorporates some ska, jazz, flamenco, samba, and '50s rock into his surf-rock sound.
Morris developed his R&B chops in Greensboro, N.C., in the '80s with harpist David "Driveway" Moore's band The Messengers. The band, which featured the "2 CC rhythm section" of Chris Carrol on bass and Chuck Cotton on drums, along with Morris on guitar, played every Tuesday night, and the band developed a huge local following with their mix of classic R&B covers. Morris's next venture was The Blue Note Special, which concentrated more on blues and won the Piedmont Blues Society's Talent Contest in 1988.
While playing area venues, Morris's talents impressed the former Muddy Waters sideman Bob Margolin and Saffire's Ann Rabson, who recommended Morris to The Nighthawks' co-founder, harp ace Marc Wenner. Wenner had been looking for a guitarist to replace original guitarist Jimmy Thackery, who left in 1987.
Morris had some big shoes to fill. Thackery spent 15 years touring the world with the 'Hawks, and his sound was indelibly imprinted on the band and their fans. To raise the "follow this if you can" stakes higher, Morris' predecessors had included Warren Haynes, former Dickie Betts Band guitarist, then Allman Brothers ax man before forming Gov't Mule. Margolin had also held down the slot for a while, as had Jimmy Nalls, formerly of Sea Level. Nalls quit the 'Hawks to work with T. Graham Brown, leaving the opening that Morris filled. In 1993 The Nighthawks recorded one of their stellar live performances and the result was the critically acclaimed CD "Rock This House" which features Morris' amazing guitar virtuosity ranging from blues, funk, jazz, and rockabilly. The CD was the follow up for the 1991 release "Trouble".
Nighthawk Wenner remembers that Morris was, "quite right for the situation musically and visually. But, I think that one of the things with Danny was the he was in his 20s and we were in our late 40s. We always wanted to go back to the hotel and chill and he always wanted to hang and jam all night."
In 1995, Morris decided that he needed more hang time and went out on his own. The guitarist started his namesake band as a side-project while still with the 'Hawks, playing around the Virginia/DC area whenever he had time off. The trio was already stretching out from straight-ahead blues. Morris told The Charlotte Observer that performing the same changes on a nightly basis was "like going in and reciting the same conversation over and over. My influences are broad so as an artist I always like to broaden my palette."
He released his first album in 1996. "I Won't Worry" was a mix of surf, jazz and old-school rock and roll. Two years later, he came out with "Storm Surge," pushing the envelope even further, bringing onboard a couple of Cuban mixes to add to his now-familiar fusion of blues and surf. Both received high praises from music critics and fans alike. "Storm Surge" contains 12 original tunes, including "Violated," a reverb-rockin' true tale and a favorite among fans. Mike Joyce of The Washington Post proclaimed, "It's hard to imagine anyone not being impressed with Morris' versatility and imagination" Rapidly gaining notoriety for his eclectic song writing and awe-inspiring guitar performance, Morris has been compared to such greats as Dick Dale, Danny Gatton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Duane Eddy.
His 2001 release, "The Golden Prize," mixes ska ("No One Knows Virginia"), samba ("You're Mine," "Our Moon") and '50s era rock ("Twistin' Kristin") with surf classics like "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "Pipeline." Morris even throws in a little soft-core punk with "All I Think About." The Beatles get a turn in "Please, Please Me" done as an instrumental with Dick Dale flourishes. Morris finally gets down and dirty with some nasty blues on the closer, "Stop Teasin' Me," ripping off some pretty tasty, nasty, greasy Texas-style slide with Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers while sax man Jimmy Carpenter blows a sack full of back alley bump and grind. Phil Dirt of Reverb Central says, "Surf instros lay side by side with soft blues and roots music, and the combo works well. The Danny Morris Band has found a groove that transcends several genre boundaries in a natural and friendly way. An excellent album, especially the opening instro "Flight School," Danny can play guitar!"
In 2002, Morris moved to Orlando, Florida, to learn the ins and outs of recording studio technology at Full Sail College. In 2003, he earned a degree in Audio Engineering, receiving top honors in several courses, including earning a Pro Tools Certification specializing in audio post-production.
Upon graduation Morris worked at Orlando's Sound-O-Rama post-production studio where his main duties were audio editing, sound design and music composition, among others. But late in 2003, the lure of music and travel were calling again.
In February 2004, Morris once again partnered with his good friends Mark Wenner and The Nighthawks for a three-week European tour. It would be Nighthawk bass player Jan Zukowski's last tour after 35 years with the band. "I missed the music... my music the most," said Morris. He moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida, to once again pursue his music passion full time.
In addition to his own performances, Morris has shared the stage with numerous artists (and idols) including: John Lee Hooker, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Smithereens, Earl King, John Hammond Jr., B.B. King, Ben E. King, Tom Principato, Danny Gatton, Gatemouth Brown, Mick Fleetwood, Luther Allison, Bill Kirchen, James Cotton, Fingers Taylor, Rod Piazza, Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny Clyde Copeland, and Robert Cray.
Now based in the "small wave capital of the east coast," Morris and the band are steadily performing and touring once again throughout the U.S., Canada and Caribbean. Playing venues of all sorts; from The Marie Becker Longboard Surf Contest in New Jersey; to The Dinosaur BBQ and Blues Club in New York; to The Green Parrot in Key West; to The Hull Bay Surf Club in St. Thomas, Morris plays to a loyal and dedicated fan base that is excited and eager to catch the band whenever possible.
In addition to the Live DVD, new releases are slated for 2006, most notably a huge collection of official "bootleg" recordings fans can check out online at the band's website. With veteran musicians Mike Tolnay on bass and Chris Waldron on drums, the band is more rockin' than ever and Danny Morris is poised to be THE guitarist's guitarist and performer's performer you'll want to hip yourself to.
What the Critics are saying about Danny Morris
"Prodigious guitar talent"
"Albert Collins melts strings with a surfin' Dick Dale"
"Dick Dale meets Stevie Ray"
"Otis Rush meets the Ventures"
"Magic Slim on a Surfin' Safari"
"Whammy Surf GOD!"