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One of today's true innovators of guitar composition and technique, Don Ross has
emerged as one of the most respected musicians in Canada and one of the top
guitarists in the world. In September 1996, he managed to do what no other
player has done: win the prestigious U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar
Championship for the second time (he first won in 1988). The competition, held
yearly in Winfield, Kansas, cannot be won only with immaculate technique, but
the player's music must also display a high degree of emotion and intensity,
hallmarks of Don's style.
The son of a Scottish immigrant father and a Mi'kmaq aboriginal mother, Don was
born in Montreal in 1960 into a musical family. He first started experimenting
with the solo possibilities of the acoustic guitar at the age of eight. By age
ten he was playing in alternate tunings and exploring "fingerstyle" technique, a
right hand discipline similar to classical guitar playing. Preferring to write
original music and develop a personal style, Don's self-taught journey on the
instrument has encouraged him to follow his musical intuition. The result is an
unclassifiable musical style that borrows from jazz, folk, rock and classical
music. When asked, Don usually pigeonholes his music as "Heavy Wood"!