In addition to his solo appearances across Canada in clubs and at folk festivals, he performed with the soprano Kelly McGowan (his wife, d 2001), first in 1986-7 as a duo and then, with the violinist Oliver Schroer added, as the Harbord Trio (heard on the cassettes In from the Cold from 1987 and Harbord Trio from 1990). Ross was also a member in 1987-9 of the New Age/jazz quartet Eye Music, which released the cassette Shorelines in 1987 and performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1988. He composed music for several Toronto theatre productions concerned with native life in Canada including The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (York University, 1989), Dreaming Beauty (Inner Stage Theatre, 1990), and Big Buck City (Cahoots Theatre, 1991). He also composed music for the radio series Dead Dog Café.
Ross recorded several more albums, predominantly instrumental but with occasional songs in English and in French, and can also be heard on the First Nations compilation Children of the World (PPFC-2023, Group Concept Music). His album Huron Street reached the top ten on Billboard's new age chart. Ross also toured and recorded with the guitar ensemble Men of Steel.
Ross's guitar transcriptions were published in The Answer Book (New Media Video Concepts, 1993); he made various instructional videos for guitarists, and contributed to Canadian Musician magazine. With McGowan, Ross received a songwriter award from the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals. In 1996, he repeated his earlier win at the US National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, the first contestant to have done so. Ross counted Bruce Cockburn among those who influenced his playing.
Author Betty Nygaard King
Three Hands. 1992. DSRD 31084 Duke Street
This Dragon Won't Sleep. 1995. CK 80221 Columbia
Wintertide. 1996. CK 80250 Columbia
Loaded, Leather, Moonroof. 1997. CK 80308 Columbia
Passion Session. 1999. 72438-47218-2-4 Narada
Huron Street. 2001. V211 50834 Narada
Perusse, Bernard. "Loss and love of guitar flavour Ross's music," Montreal Gazette, 19 Feb 2003
Regenstreif, Mike. "He's finger-picking good," Montreal Gazette, 9 Nov 2001
Adamson, Bruce. "Guitarmania '96: The Tone Zone," Canadian Musician, June 1996
Wright-McLeod, Brian. The Encyclopedia of Native Music (Tucson, Arizona 2005)
Links to Other Sites
The website for innovative guitarist Don Ross. Check out his bio, links to music clips, tour dates, and more.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...