Duo grabbed early by guitar

If you develop a real passion for an instrument when you’re young, you tend to excel at it.

  • Jun. 1, 2011 5:00 p.m.
Don Ross performs with Brooke Miller Saturday at Creekside.

Don Ross performs with Brooke Miller Saturday at Creekside.

If you develop a real passion for an instrument when you’re young, you tend to excel at it.

So says Canadian guitar legend-in-the-making Don Ross who, along with his partner Brooke Miller, will play The Creekside Theatre this weekend in what they describe as a very casual performance.

“Very often we’re still looking at each other saying what do you feel like playing while we’re up there?” said Ross.

Ross made history in 1996 when he became the first person to win the prestigious U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship for the second time, after his first win in 1988.

It was quite the feat, particularly when one considers the humble beginnings from which this talent was born. Influenced by people like Bruce Cockburn, Jimmie Paige and Eric Clapton, Ross remembers his sister returning from boarding school one year with a very beat up 1940s Stella guitar and clarinet. The nuns at the school had received funding for new instruments and were getting rid of the rest.

“The guitar was sexier to me than the clarinet,” said Ross, who admits his older brother initially caught on much faster than he did.

The self-taught pair were soon mimicking the greats, just as Brooke Miller would do when she started to learn. Miller’s mother is actually a musician, though her father gave her her first guitar.

Add a little Ani DiFranco and The Pretenders to her Cockburn influence and one can see she’s a chip off, well, probably many old blocks, whether the parental-type or the husband-type.

This tour has them both showcasing CDs—for Ross Breakfast for Dogs, and Shake it Off in Miller’s case. Ross is known for his instrumentation whereas Miller is known more for her lyrics, though she didn’t start writing love songs until quite recently.

You Can See Everything is her first love song and one she says she was inspired by Miller.

“This song embodied my entire spirits being lifted by this person’s love,” she said. “Everyone should be able to experience a love like that in their life and aren’t we lucky to have something like this.”

Hopefully it will also carry her through the extensive touring this Maritime pair have planned.

Signing with new agents in January, it took some time to get the bookings rolling but they’re now on a whirlwind global concert spree that will see them all over Canada, twice in Germany, as well as at bookings in the US and Japan.

Brooke Miller and Don Ross play The Creekside Theatre, 10241 Bottom Wood Lake Road, Lake Country, this Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 or $20 for students and seniors. A group of four is $72.

For reservations visit www.creeksidetheatre.com.

 

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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