Canberra-based singer, song-writer and harmonica player, Dorothy-Jane ‘DJ’ Gosper, has a new album out “Blues By Candlelight”.
DJ has performed with numerous acts over the years including The Blues Cowgirls, The Van Veen Band, KarismaKatz (with Chris Carlsen), the Hot Flush Blues Band and The Dorothy-Jane Band.
For this album, and for festival and concert performances she collaborates with guitarist, Jeff Prime. The duo has put together 13 tracks of well crafted acoustic songs, from Traditional Blues to easy-listening ballads.
The duo format is well represented in the mix as is the 4-piece outfit, with Matt Nightingale (Heath Cullen, Hannah Gillespie, Den Hanrahan) and Gavin Kelly (drums).
The album was mixed and mastered by David Pendragon and Jack Buchanan at The Studio, Canberra and produced by David Pendragon.
The album is available for purchase online through Bandcamp (Australian orders) and CD Baby (international orders) and is available for streaming and downloading on Spotify, Amazon etc.
13 track compact disc, released 13 March 2019
Featured musicians: Dorothy-Jane Gosper: Vocal, harmonicas, rhythm guitar (tracks 3, 7, 8, 11)
Jeff Prime: Lead & rhythm guitars
Session musicians: Matt Nightingale: Bass guitar; Gavin Kelly: Drums
Production: Mixed & mastered by David Pendragon & Jack Buchanan.
CD Review by Tony Smith
DeeJay (Dorothy Jane Gosper) is amongst other things a ‘go-getter’.
She makes good things happen and fronts several jazz, roots and blues bands, including the wittily named ‘Hot Flush Blues Band’.
It is easy to imagine this band being a hit around the cabaret circuits, especially in Canberra.
Blues by Candlelight has thirteen very pleasant listening tracks.
Six are original , 4 by DeeJ and 2 by guitarist, Jeff Prime.
The remaining seven tracks include blues classics from various sub-genres.
R.M. Jones’ ‘Trouble in Mind’ for example, might be described as Vaudeville blues.
The title track, ‘Blues by Candlelight’ by Karen Tyler, tends towards a rootsy feel and the final track, ‘Skirt’, is billed as ‘power blues’.
My favourite is ‘Can’t Be Satisfied’ by M. McKinley.
It was made famous by the renowned Muddy Waters and is one of those classics which sounds as though it comes from earlier years, when the likes of Leadbelly and Robert Johnson performed revolutionary solos on the bottleneck slide guitar, probably with modified tunings.
Prime’s riffs and walking bass embellish this tune very well and DeeJ’s harp growls at its best.
The original tracks are a highlight, there is passion but also humour in ‘Whoops-A-Daisy’ which separates ‘the cultured from the ignorant fool’.
There are brooding pieces such as ‘Party on the other side’.
Prime’s ‘Moving On’ has a freshness that makes it very Australian, the promise to move on ‘when the rain comes’ seems like a forlorn hope in the middle of severe drought.
There are mixed emotions in ‘On My Own’ with the sadness of breaking up,‘19 years of you and me packed up in boxes’ but also the hope of a new future.
Matt Nightingale on bass guitar and Gavin Kelly on drums, provide the kind of subtle, unobtrusive support any singer would appreciate.
The cymbals in ‘Party On the Other Side’ for example, create an ethereal atmosphere which helps demonstrate the great variety in the work of these fine musicians.
David Pendragon and Jack Buchanan have been masterful with their production and recording at The Studio in Canberra.
DeeJ bends the blues harp (aka gob iron or harmonica or mouth organ) as well as any player, Australian or American.
The way she warbles her voice would be the envy of any magpie.
Alongside, Jeff Prime bends the strings of guitars expertly, the bending effect in blues is the essence of emotional expression.
Prime’s precise guitar playing and DeeJ’s deep, clear voice, make this CD a very listenable blues experience.
DeeJ thanks Jeff for his passion for the blues.
We all should be thankful that this duo works so effortlessly together.