Don Ross has spent the last 25 years of his life showing his superlative guitar skills to the world, and the Montreal-based musician is coming for an exclusive performance at the Errington Hall this Saturday, Oct. 13.
Ross grabbed the country’s attention back in 1988 when he won the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition, and it wouldn’t be the last time he took the prestigious honour.
“That really got my career kick started in Canada,” he said. “I was living in downtown Toronto at the time and I went down and beat yanks at their own game, and that got me a lot of press in the Toronto area.”
Ross said the event helped get him signed with the prominent Duke Street Records. “It was a pretty exciting time to get discovered,” he said.
And just to show them it was no fluke, Ross won that U.S. competition again in 1996. Today he remains the only person to have ever won twice.
The guitar first won Ross’ love when he was eight years old and his sister came home with an old Stella acoustic. He came from a musical family and despite cranking out tunes on his guitar, his dad—a classically trained opera singer—was the loudest.
“Aside from all the loud singing my dad also played bagpipes, being from Scotland, but I love him anyway,” Ross joked.
Ross studied music at Toronto’s York University, concentrating on composition, electronic music and sound recording, but his career has been largely focused on solo guitar.
He’s been across Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India playing his guitar and has also played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany.
He has recently released his 14th solo album called Upright and Locked Position, and like all his other albums, he engineered and produced it himself. Ross produces CDs for other artists as well and has made a number of collaborative albums over the years.
Besides his trusty acoustic guitar, he can rock the electric, slide dobro, lapsteel and base guitars, among other instruments.
Ross will be the feature act at Guitars By Hand at the Errington Hall this Saturday, an exhibition and sale of handcrafted instruments put on by The Islands Luthiers’ Guild. The event is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ross will teach a workshop on technique from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the hall for $10, tickets available at the Luthiers show.
His concert will begin at 8 p.m., tickets are $20 from the Errington Store, Cranky Dog Music in Parksville and Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach. For more on Ross visit www.gobyfish.com.