Thursday, August 31, 2006

When Danny Morris moved to Orlando in 2002 to study recording studio technology, the area lost a favorite player. Luckily the talented guitarist, who played for the Nighthawks before going solo, didn't let his courses or his work at Orlando's Sound "O" Rama studios stop him from making regular return visits. He'll be back in town next week, with a stop at Bangkok Blues.

"The best thing is seeing good friends," he wrote in an e-mail last week. "I never miss the traffic around DC, but I miss my old friends and jamming with my old band-buddies." He called Bangkok Blues "small but rockin."

Morris started his career in Greensboro, N.C., in the 1980s with an R&B cover band called the Messengers, then played blues with Blue Note Special. That's when his skills caught the attention of the Nighthawks, and he filled a spot previously occupied by Jimmy Thackery and Warren Haynes. Morris toured extensively with the band and was featured on the 1993 live CD "Rock This House."

Still, Morris had energy to burn, so he started his namesake trio -- first as a side project, hitting venues in the area during Nighthawks breaks, then as his sole enterprise in 1995.

In his solo work, Morris displayed a reluctance to stay in one vein for long. His first album, "I Won't Worry," in 1995, mixed surf, jazz and classic rock-and-roll. Two years later, he released "Storm Surge," which included some Cuban accents. "The Golden Prize" (2001) added touches of ska and samba, included surf classics such as "Pipeline" and featured a cover of The Beatles' "Please Please Me" as a surf-style instrumental. Fans compare Morris's guitar work to such players as Dick Dale, Danny Gatton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Duane Eddy.

In 2004, Morris rejoined the Nighthawks for a brief European tour, then returned to Florida to resume his own music. His most recent release is a live DVD. New music releases are planned for this year, including a number of official "bootleg" recordings to be posted on the band's Web site, .

He wrote that old trio hand Mike Tolnay will be playing with him on bass, as will Frank Hetzler, who just joined in July, on drums. Tolnay is on the live DVD.

Morris wrote: "I have a bunch of new tunes, which we will be performing."

Besides the Bangkok Blues gig, Morris will be in Leesburg (Sept. 7) and Sterling (Sept. 9) before returning to Cocoa Beach.


Bangkok Blues is at 926 W. Broad St. (Route 7 West) in Falls Church. The restaurant serves Thai cuisine in two serving areas: a nonsmoking dining area and a full bar with ventilated smoking area. For information, call 703-534-0095 or visit

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