Don Ross is a natural for the CandyRat label, possessing an unorthodox approach to the acoustic guitar, a dazzling blend of God only knows how many influences, probably more in one measure than any human being has any right to incorporate. The very first cut, Crazy—yep! the Gnarls Barkley composition—is a mad quilt of layering, colliding, harmonizing, contrasting modes fitting together in a fast-paced and very intricate tapestry of enneagrammatic patterns and tastes. Nor does any cut after that lack in any respect for equal attention.
Most mind-blowing is the fact that there's only one player here, though you'll swear there are three, all of them unbelievably talented, perhaps from Mars or some place where bipeds possess extra digits on each hand. This particular Breakfast is a feast, a surfeit of heady highly energetic rondos and convolutions that enthrall and captivate, dizzying in their acumen. Godzilla is not the Blue Oyster Cult tune, but Ross' chops are on a par with the esteemed Donald Roeser (Buck Dharma), albeit from a completely different direction. If you're eclectic, multivariate enough to understand why Roeser was, and still is, a unique fellow, you'll have no problems here either. And I suspect Obrigado (Egberto) is a tribute to the stellar Egberto Gismonti; if not, it's nonetheless of equally daunting invention. One needn't guess, however, at the bonus cut Crazy / Michael, Michael, Michael, which reprises the Barkley song and tributes Michael Hedges simultaneously.
I've no doubt Don Ross has been interviewed in any number of guitar magazines, but, really, he doesn't have to say a word about any of this. When you're done devoting dazed attention to Breakfast for Dogs!, you'll know you've come across someone who truly loves the guitar well beyond what even the most ardent have in the past shown. There's an intimacy to this CD that travels past the borders of mere devotion, skips the usual syrupy spiritual beatitudes, and becomes quintessentially human in a sense so artful that even Schopenhauer would've gasped...had he not died far too early to have heard it. His tough luck.
But not ours.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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