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Legendary Solo Guitarist and Canada’s Finest New Songwriter: Don Ross

Fri. March 9th 2012 8:00pm - 10:30pm doors at 6:00pm Hermann's Jazz Club (All Ages) 8:00pm - 10:30pm doors at 6:00pm
$20.00 Adv. + service charge / $23 Door
An evening with...
Don Ross & Brooke Miller
Friday, March 9, 2012
Hermanns Jazz Club, 753 View St., Victoria BC
Doors 6:00pm - Show 8:00pm
Tickets: $20.00 advance / $25 Door
Available at:, Lyle's Place 770 Yates St. and Ditch Records 784 Fort St. & McPherson Box Office 250-386-6121

Don Ross on YouTube:

Brooke Miller on YouTube:

Double Bill site:

Don's website:

Brooke's website:

Don Ross:!/donrossmusic

There was always a lot of music around the house. Don’s dad is an operatically-trained singer. So, the Ross kids heard plenty of voice exercises around their Montreal home as well as classical music on the record player growing up (not to mention the occasional blast of the bagpipes when Don’s dad felt like waking up the neighbours with another musical skill he acquired growing up in Scotland!). Don was a very musical child, teaching himself some basic piano skills in his early years. But at the age of eight, when Don’s sister came home from boarding school with an old Stella acoustic guitar, he knew he had met his new best friend. Immediately recognizing the portability and “cool factor” of the guitar, Don and his older brother began teaching themselves
tunes by the Beatles, Cream, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

By the age of ten, Don was playing less with a pick and more with his fingers. He was fascinated by the possibility of playing several lines at once: melody, middle voices, bass line. To achieve some of the musical ideas he had in mind, he started retuning the guitar to suit them, inventing new tunings that made things easier at first. But he also realized that he could expand the range of the instrument to make the low strings lower and the high strings higher. The possibilities seemed almost endless.

He began playing publicly (and for money) in his hometown of Montreal at the age of 15. Fortunately he looked old enough to drink by then and even played occasionally at some of the downtown pubs that featured live acoustic music! Around the same time he discovered the music of legendary Canadian singer/guitarist Bruce Cockburn. Don was amazed that such an insightful lyricist could also be a tremendous guitarist. The musical future seemed very bright indeed. He was inspired to write his first strong instrumental tunes for solo guitar around this time.

Don eventually studied Music at Toronto’s York University. Strangely enough, he didn’t focus on guitar but rather on composition, electronic music, and sound recording. Upon graduating, he had visions of being a composer of orchestral and electronic music or film scores..certainly not any delusions of playing solo guitar for a living. What changed his mind was seeing the success of musicians like Michael Hedges, Steve Reich and Keith Jarrett, player/composers who followed their musical intuitions wherever they led and who fell more into the category of “artist” rather than “guitarist” or “pianist.”

After graduation, Don decided that the best forum for what he did as a composer would be to perform his guitar music himself. In 1988, he won the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. This earned him a fair amount of
media attention back home in Canada, and within days he was scouted to record for Toronto-based independent record label Duke Street Records. He recorded his debut for the label, Bearing Straight, which was released in 1989. Two more recordings for the label followed, 1990’s Don Ross and 1993’s Three Hands. Don then signed with Columbia/Sony and recorded three more CDs for that label: This Dragon Won’t Sleep in 1995, Wintertide in 1996 and Loaded. Leather. Moonroof. in 1997. In the meantime, Don won the Fingerstyle competition in the USA for a second time in 1996. To this day, he is still the only player to have won the competition twice!

Signing with Narada Records in 1999, Don released his first completely solo-guitar CD, Passion Session. Recorded in a series of overnight sessions in Berlin’s Passionskirche (The Church of the Passion), the CD has gone on to top many of the “all time best acoustic guitar recordings” lists in publications like Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Some of the compositions on Passion Session, such as “Michael, Michael, Michael,” “Klimbim,” and “Tight Trite Night” have become standards in world guitar repertoire. Huron Street (2001) and Robot Monster (2003) followed, showcasing the depth of Don’s compositional history as well as his ongoing interest in electronic music, through collaborations with Berlin composer Christoph Bendel.

With the collapse of the conventional recording industry in the early 21st century, Don entered into a new venture with Milwaukee-based CandyRat Records and its founder, Rob Poland. The move to a completely internet-based model of releasing recordings resulted in the first ever CandyRat CD, 2005’s Music for Vacuuming. CandyRat has gone on to release recordings by dozens of international artists, primarily guitarists and songwriters. YouTube exposure has helped all of the CandyRat artists, and made an international star of Don’s good friend Andy McKee. Other recent projects Don has released in collaboration with CandyRat are Live in Your Head (2006), the thing that came from somewhere (2008, with Andy McKee), his all-vocal CD Any Colour (2009), the solo guitar album Breakfast for Dogs! (2010), as well as two performance DVDs: Don Ross Live and Live in Toronto (with Michael Manring and Andy McKee).

Don has toured regularly since 1989, across Canada, the USA, a dozen European countries, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India. He has played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany, and collaborated live and on recording with Andy McKee, Canadian singer/guitarist Brooke Miller, & Toronto bassist Jordan O’Connor. He also composes scores for television, radio and film, and does production and recording engineering for a variety of other musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, Don also plays electric guitar, slide dobro and lapsteel guitar, voice, piano, keyboards, bass guitar and drums.

Don grew up in Montreal, lived for many years in the Toronto area, and now lives with his wife in Halifax on Canada’s Atlantic coast.

Brooke’s career began on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in a loud punk band as the lead guitarist & vocalist at the ripe old age of 12. She later connected with music by the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Rickie Lee Jones, The Police and Joni Mitchell. She has flourished into a road warrior, touring throughout Canada, the US, Europe and Japan. Brooke has just released her fourth CD, BROOKE MILLER, her first to be distributed nationally in Canada through DEP/Universal. It features Brooke on acoustic and electric guitars and vocals with an array of guest musicians from Toronto and Halifax.

Brooke’s tunes have been heard in recent feature films (THE YEAR OF GETTING TO KNOW US, starring Sharon Stone, Lucy Liu and Jimmy Fallon), and on hit television shows (The L Word and Women’s Murder Club). She
won the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals’ 2007 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award.

The new album (released on CD and 12″ red vinyl, and distributed worldwide on iTunes) includes reworked versions of some of Brooke’s best songs as well as new material, produced in a format ready for commercial radio. New tracks and new versions include the first single, “Cannonball,” a cover version of the great song by The Blue Nile “Tinseltown in the Rain,” an R&B-tinged vocal version of her tune “Shake It Off” (replete with horn section), loud versions of “Big Deal,” “You’ve Got My Attention” and “Big Deal,” and reworkings of “What You Know,” “You Can See Everything,” and “What Kind of Move.” Getting back to her rockier roots, Brooke has re-immersed herself into a more electric sound, while still keeping her acoustic and electric guitar playing front and centre.

Brooke will also record her fifth album this November 2011 for the German label Stockfisch Records. This will be a more acoustic feeling album and be released followed by a May/June 2012 European tour.

Miller’s new business relationships with Dacapo Publishing & DEP/Universal, both based in Montreal QC, will help bring her to a truly international audience, using Montreal as a launching pad.

Brooke and her family live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Don Ross

Don Ross began playing guitar virtually by accident. There was always a lot of music around the house. Don’s dad is an operatically-trained singer. So, the Ross kids heard plenty of voice exercises around their Montreal home as well as classical music on the record player growing up (not to mention the occasional blast of the bagpipes when Don... more info
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