We came for Reb Beach and Steve Morse covering Crossroads. We stayed for the guitar faces

Reb Beach and Steve Morse jammed onstage together recently, covering Robert Johnson’s blues classic Crossroads in shred-heavy fashion at the latter’s show in Oakmont, Pennsylvania last Friday (May 26).

Following the performance, Beach took to Twitter to express his gratitude to Morse, whom he dubbed “one of the great guitarists of our time." 

“It was such a huge honor to jam with my childhood hero, Steve Morse,” wrote Beach. “He is such an extraordinary person. He is incredibly kind and humble for being a musical genius. 

“Like Jeff Beck, he is one of the great guitarists of our time, and a mind-blowing songwriter. It was a night I will definitely never forget. Thank you so much for letting me play with you, Steve.”

Beach is best known for his time in Winger, but has also served stints in Alice Cooper, Dokken, Whitesnake, and Night Ranger – and seems to have brought his A-game when it came to jamming with his hero. 

The guitarist also handles vocals for the track, which is loosely inspired by Cream’s take on the Johnson standard, but soon strays into more vicious, ’80s hard rock-style territory, as Beach throws in some devastating lead runs.

As connoisseurs of the art form, we also need to give Beach a special mention for what might very well be the finest display of ‘guitar face’ this side of NAMM 1987. It’s a masterful, kaleidoscopic array of tonal contortion and we can only applaud it.

He does it all with what appears to be a loaner guitar from Morse, too – who’s endorsed by Ernie Ball Music Man. After all, Beach told Guitar World in 2021 that he usually considers himself “a big John Suhr guy."

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For his part, the ever-inspiring Morse uses his four-pickup Music Man signature guitar and brings a smoother, rounder tone to the table. He favors a little less distortion, making a nice contrast between the two virtuosos – and the two of them clearly have a blast exchanging licks in the track’s later stages. 

The former Deep Purple man remains humble, as Beach would have it, and seems equally bowled-over by Beach’s performance. “I’ve never heard him play that solo ever,” Morse says at the end of Beach’s Crossroads guest spot. “Man… he plays the right thing at the right time, every single time.”  

Morse is currently undertaking a series of tour dates with The Steve Morse Band, having reprised the group following his departure from Deep Purple last year. 

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.