The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don Ross & Chateau Sainte Marguerite Cru-Classe Grand Reserve Rosé

Tonight, I’m featuring one of my favorite super-human acoustic guitarists. Donald Ross was born November 19, 1960 in Montreal, Quebec to Scottish and Mi'kmaq parents. He’s a Canadian virtuoso fingerstyle guitarist noted for the emotion and intensity of his playing as well as his use of extended techniques like taping, slapping, and all around murdering his guitar.

Ross's style, which he describes as “heavy wood,” borrows from blues, jazz, folk and classical music. Ross is the only person to twice win the Winfield U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship (1988 and 1996). Bruce Cockburn has said, "Nobody does what Don Ross does with an acoustic guitar. He takes the corners so fast you think he's going to roll, but he never loses control."

Ross studied composition at the music department of York University in Toronto with David Mott, James Tenney and Phil Werren. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music in 1983, he studied philosophy at St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Massachusetts while living at San Damiano Friary in Holyoke, Massachusetts, then started his novitiate for the Canadian custody of the Conventual Franciscans of Immaculate Conception Province at St. Francis Friary in Staten Island, NY. However, the call of music was too strong and he decided to leave that pursuit and become a musician.

In 2001 his wife Kelly died from breast cancer and Ross was left as a single Dad with his kids. But he met up with fellow musician, Brooke Miller, a singer-songwriter from Prince Edward Island, touring with her and in 2005 married her. Ross performs most of his concerts solo, but has also regularly performed with Andy McKee, Brooke Miller, and bassist Jordan O'Connor. As of 2010 Ross is now a Dalhousie University professor teaching history of guitar and techniques, while still travelling extensively for music. All of his stuff is amazing, but in particular, don’t miss Kilmbim, Michael Michael, and Crazy. He’s one of my favorites and you’re gonna see why when you give a listen. Enjoy!


Tight Trite Night:

Three Hands:


From France to India:

It’s your favorite:

Thin Air:

Loaded, Leather, Moonroof:

Blue Bear:

Jesse Helms Night in Havana:

Robot Monster:

How to eat an avalanche:

With you in mind:

Michael, Michael, Michael:

The way Don plays, I’m surprised his guitar doesn’t catch fire, so let’s cool it off with a bottle of Chateau Sainte Marguerite Cru-Classe Grand Reserve Rosé (2009; $20.00). The castle of Sainte-Marguerite is located in an idyllic and beautiful region of Provence, France where, at least in this particular vineyard, the grapes are produced organically. In the U.S., people often associate Rosé with cheap, sweet wines from either a box or something akin to two-buck Chuck, an impression that couldn’t be farther from the taste of a true French Rosé. A true Rosé is actually quite dry and complex, the perfect wine for summer. Sainte Marguerite is a Cru class wine, French legalese for a vineyard historically identified as being of exceptional quality. The Chateau Sainte Marguerite Rosé is a salmon pink with a delicate nose of strawberries, currents, and wildflowers. In the mouth, the finesse and delicacy found in the nose is backed by flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and orange peel with good minerality and a long finish. An elegant wine that will keep you cool while you listen to Don Ross burning on the guitar. Enjoy!


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