The Rogue Folk Club presents
Guitarists Extraordinaire

Don Ross & Calum Graham

with Special Guests Cassie & Maggie

Don Ross & Calum Graham (Halifax / Toronto)

Cassie & Maggie (NS)





3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano

Accessible All ages

This event has already taken place.



Don Ross began playing guitar virtually by accident. There was always a lot of music around the house. Don’s dad is an operatically-trained singer. So, the Ross kids heard plenty of voice exercises around their Montreal home as well as classical music on the record player growing up (not to mention the occasional blast of the bagpipes when Don’s dad felt like waking up the neighbours with another musical skill he acquired growing up in Scotland!).

Don eventually studied Music at Toronto’s York University. Strangely enough, he didn’t focus on guitar but rather on composition, electronic music, and sound recording. Upon graduating, he had visions of being a composer of orchestral and electronic music or film scores, certainly not any delusions of playing solo guitar for a living. What changed his mind was seeing the success of musicians like Michael Hedges, Steve Reich and Keith Jarrett, player/composers who followed their musical intuitions wherever they led and who fell more into the category of “artist” rather than “guitarist” or “pianist.”

In 1988, Don became the first Canadian to win the U.S. National Fingerpick Guitar Championship. He won again in 1996, still the only two-time winner of the competition. He signed a recording deal with Toronto-based Duke Street Records and released three CDs for them between 1989 and 1993. He then recorded three CDs for Sony/Columbia between 1994 and 1997, and then three more for Milwaukee-based Narada Records between 1999 and 2003.

With the collapse of the conventional recording industry in the early 21st century, Don entered into a new venture with Milwaukee-based CandyRat Records and its founder, Rob Poland. The move to a completely internet-based model of releasing recordings resulted in the first ever CandyRat CD, 2005’s Music for Vacuuming. Don has released numerous CDs and DVDs for the new label, including his new album, A Million Brazilian Civilians, on CD and see-through orange vinyl.

Don has toured regularly since 1989, across Canada, the USA, a dozen European countries, Japan, Taiwan, China, Australia, Russia and India. He has played with symphony orchestras in Canada and Germany, and collaborated live and on recording with U.S. guitarist Andy McKee, Canadian singer/guitarist Brooke Miller, Canadian guitarist Calum Graham, & Toronto bassist Jordan O’Connor.

He also composes scores for television, radio and film, and does production and recording engineering for a variety of other musicians. In addition to acoustic guitar, Don also plays electric guitar, slide dobro and lapsteel guitar, harp guitar, voice, piano, keyboards, bass guitar and drums. He has just started learning to play the Kelstone, a 9-string guitar developed by Belgian musician/inventor Jan Van Kelst. At this point, Don admits that learning a new instrument from scratch at this point in his career is “humbling. I’m a rank amateur Kelstone player, and I still completely suck at it!”

Don Ross grew up in Montreal, has lived at various times in Ontario, Nova Scotia, the USA, China and Quebec, and now resides in Halifax.

 At just 25, Calum Graham has already enjoyed a career that would be the envy of most artists twice his age. The Alberta-based guitarist and singer/songwriter has released five acclaimed albums, won major national music competitions, performed at the Olympic Games in both Vancouver and London, racked up some phenomenal views on YouTube, and was most recently named one of the top 30 guitarists in the world under 30 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Andy McKee, one of today’s most popular acoustic guitarists, calls Calum “the most promising young guitarist I’ve seen. His command of the guitar is already really impressive!”


Composer Frédéric Chopin once said that, “Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly, two.” Through the decades, many guitarists have taken his advice, yielding some amazing collaborations, including the Duo Assad, Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie, and the classic fingerstyle pairing of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. While playing in a guitar duo can be as simple as saying, “You play rhythm, and I play lead,” the best duets feature carefully arranged, interlocking parts, creating the impression of 20 fingers playing one big guitar.

Enter Calum Graham and Don Ross, whose recent release, 12:34 [Candyrat], is not only a fine example of great modern fingerstyle playing featuring lots of extended techniques, alternate tunings, and gorgeous tones—it also creates a soundscape that is larger than the sum of its parts. Oh, and if you think two guys playing acoustic guitars can’t be a rock band, take a listen to the album’s opening cut, “Indivisible,” and you just might change your mind.

Ross is, of course, no stranger to fans of progressive fingerstyle guitar. Ever since releasing his debut album, Bearing Straight, in 1989, he has been on the forefront of the contemporary fingerstyle movement, and it is no exaggeration that his groove-oriented style has influenced a generation of fingerstyle players who came on the scene after him. One of those players is fellow Canadian Graham, who, though he was born after the release of Bearing Straight, began absorbing every lick he heard Ross play, eventually resulting in his own solo debut, Sunny Side Up, in 2009. Pairing two artists at very different stages in their careers, 12:34 is not only a really fun album to listen to—it’s also a great story of mentorship and inter-generational collaboration.

Tonight's show includes a Special Rogue 30th Anniversary Bonus Performance, sponsored by Steve Edge and the Edge On Folk show (Saturday 8am to noon on CiTR 101.9 fm)


Nova Scotian sisters Cassie and Maggie have been lighting up the world with their unique blend of traditional and contemporary Celtic instrumentals and vocals. Appearing on stages across North America, the UK, and Europe the sisters have enchanted audiences far and wide with lively fiddle, piano and guitar arrangements, stunning sibling vocal harmonies in both English and Gaelic, all complemented by their intricate and percussive stepdancing style. 

Cassie and Maggie have already won an impressive number of awards: 2016 Live Ireland Radio’s VOCALISTS OF THE YEAR and NEW GROUP OF THE YEAR”, Chicago Irish-American Newspaper’s EMERGING ARTIST and RECORDING OF THE YEAR winners, Galaxie Radio Rising Stars, Independent Music Award WORLD SONG OF THE YEAR nominees, as well as multiple Canadian Folk Music Award, East Coast Music Award and Music Nova Scotia Award nominees. Currently, they have FOUR nominations for 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards. 

What's Been Said ...

(They) ... "are among the top musical acts in demand on the Irish/American/Canadian scene. Be it their foot percussion accompanying driving Nova Scotian sets, their perfect blend of sibling harmonies, added to a stunning interplay on various instruments, a musical evening spent with Cassie and Maggie is a great night." - Irish Music Magazine.

"Cassie and Maggie are an unbelievably gifted duo ... the train is just gathering steam and leaving the station on these new stars. It is going to be a glorious journey, and it is already well-begun."   – Live Ireland Radio, Dublin, IR

“The sound that emanates from these two is so enormous it could take up any room, and is a true testament to their talent.” - NY Theater Guide

"The Willow Collection showcases not only their musical ability, but the depth and variety of their musicianship." – Irish Music Magazine

"They offer the perfect sibling blend... Think of the Everly Brothers and the Mills Brothers... Perfect harmony. There is so much that goes on in each of their tunes and great live performances, it is easy to miss their beautifully offered harmonies. Perfection." - Chicago Irish American News
“With songs ranging from heartbreakingly beautiful and soft to loud and boisterous, Cassie and Maggie's sisterly voices blend in such a way that you automatically know it is genetic… theirs are voices that wrap themselves around each other more than others.” - No Depression

"This album packs a punch and has harmonies laden with peaches and cream" - fRoots

"As gifted musically as the are gorgeous, the sisters strike sonic gold... one of the finest Celtic acts this side of the Atlantic." - Celtic Life International 

"There’s never a dull moment about with the MacDonald’s fiddle and guitar combo and anyone not up and dancing will surely find it hard to resist... a hugely enjoyable discovery. - Bright Young Folk
“This album (The Willow Collection) is magnificent! It tests the boundaries of traditional folk sounds with each song celebrating the symbolic tree” - Woman’s International Music Network

"Of the numerous East Coast artists the Calgary Folk Club has featured, these two young ladies inhabit the rare air of the greats. At an age (each in their early twenties) where they only have more to achieve and develop as performers and writers, Cassie & Maggie MacDonald gave the sort of performance you’d expect from seasoned veterans of their craft." - The Calgary Herald 

"The MacDonald’s music is a beautiful blend of all these Celtic sounds, anchored by the powerful, lively fiddling of elder sister Cassie MacDonald and the beautiful guitar and piano work and clear-as-a-mountain-spring vocals of her younger sister Maggie MacDonald. This is the kind of family music that has always fueled the Maritimes, and there’s a very real closeness in this music that can only come from siblings making music together." - Music News Nashville

The Rogue Folk Club is pleased to provide great SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES for all our shows. For a nominal cost, individuals or businesses can sponsor any of our shows and reap a number of benefits - free tickets, reserved table, recognition on literature, our web site and at the concerts. For more information simply contact our Sponsorship Director Morris Biddle at

Please note that the admission price for this concert includes a $2 Venue Improvement Fee that we are required by the St. James Square to collect from every patron. Starting in September 2016, the proceeds from this temporary fee will be used for construction projects such as ventilation, flooring and washrooms that will make the hall a nicer place for you to visit in the future. If you wish, you can make a secure donation by clicking on the big blue button at the bottom of the page at For information on donating by phone or post, please contact the St. James Square office at 604-739-9373.