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Podcast-Interview 

“I was struck by how painful the writing and production must have been. It is clearly and demonstrably there in the music... 

“We will all be the better for your album, ‘The Witness’. I am sure that it will be an important document for people in the music world and society in general. It’s a very significant piece of work and I can see how much it cost you to do it. I congratulate you for your courage in speaking out.”

Hear the podcast from Barbie Robinson - Living Arts Canberra

'The Witness' is a powerful, unflinching, and necessary album 

Album review from BMA Magazine

Dorothy-Jane's 'The Witness' is a powerful, unflinching, and necessary album; an artist bearing her soul in the very rawest way imaginable. BMA and Australian Radio Promotion's Vince Leigh reviews. Trigger/Content warning for child abuse, mental illness.

Dorothy-Jane’s new album The Witness documents her harrowing journey through pain and grief following her experience of witnessing her husband sexually abusing a young child. 

This is hellish material for a musical work but necessary for several reasons, most pertinent of all is outlined in one of the tracks Speak Out, with its straightforward appeal to all potential victims of abuse, containing some crucial lines including, ‘You have a right to feel safe’, ‘You have a right to live well’. 

Dorothy’s anguish is sharply communicated via the duel nature of her vocal performances, changing from tortured vulnerability to contemplative maturity with sensitivity, amplified by visceral, determined poise. The missives here are raw, confronting and unfiltered, just as one would expect and hope of such a record, with the organic instrumentation—piano, clean guitars, harmonica, and brushwork drums—all providing an evocative yet unobtrusive soundtrack to the narratives...

- Vince Leigh

READ THE FULL REVIEW

Canberra songs you have to hear this month! 

Thanks to Riot Act for including "The Witness" (title track of my latest album) in this feature.

‘The Witness’ comes with a strong content warning for sexual assault and child abuse. In the song, Dorothy-Jane holds nothing back, expressing the deep and fundamental betrayal of a loved one. It’s the title track from Dorothy-Jane’s new album, a collection of beautifully and starkly recorded folk and blues songs in which the artist often chooses to place her subject front and centre, unrestrained by metaphor or allusion. 

While this song is not for the faint-hearted, it is a vital listen for those who might not have grappled with the disaster and destruction of abuse.

- Hayden Fritzlaff

LISTEN/BUY THE WITNESS

The Witness Album - FULL REVIEW 

I am thrilled to discover that Andy G of Gee Force has written a comprehensive review of my latest album, The Witness, now available on your preferred platform and to purchase the physical CD. It's most complimentary so I'm sharing it :)))

DOROTHY-JANE – The Witness 
As a mix of blues, soul and jazz album goes with a singer who's got a voice you'll never forget, and which sounds as classic as any great 20th century female soul-blues singer you could name, this is not only essential listening, but it's faultless. From fans of Cleo Laine through Nina Simone to Tom Waits, this is the album you should treasure in those nights by the fireside together or reflective on your own, or with friends around the smouldering embers of the campfire. Quite brilliant!

One of the good things about a truly distinctive singer and songwriter, is the way, on an album, that, within the first minute of the first track, you know exactly what you're in for and, even more importantly, are immediately drawn to its spells. This is the case with this new album from Australia's Dorothy-Jane.

Right from the start of “Will I Ever Love Again?”, there's this wondrously smoky female vocal, that just takes you right back to the Classic blues/jazz singers on the 20th century. It's got feeling, emotion and passion, allied to a sense of floating on a cloud at the same time. As the track builds, so you fly wistfully on a bed of rolling piano chords, soaring sax and a gentle rhythm section, before that voice returns, only this time really beginning to ascend as she injects the song with adrenaline to add to the bar-room atmospherics.

“Why My Husband Went Away” really brings a lyrical smile to your face, and reminds me very much of a Tom Waits styled approach with that slowly drawling vocal, that would not have been out of place on the legendary “One From The Heart” film soundtrack. Once again, it's full of passion, runs the gamut of emotion, rolls along like a river on a sunny day, even comes with a suitably lazy but cutting electric guitar break, the gently atmospheric harmonica returns, and the song continues as you laze on your sunny afternoon in the heat of the New Orleans day.

The title track, "The Witness", shimmers into existence courtesy of a slowly twanging electric guitar as the bottom range of Dorothy's vocal comes into play, pouring our her feelings with a glorious mix of emotion and menace, so much so that you can feel her pain as she runs the length of the smoky blues-laced vocal spectrum, the song superbly illustrating her observations, as the harmonica wails in slow motion over that shimmering guitar backdrop that is the heart on which the song beats slowly away.

“Daddy's Little Girl” starts with a wonderful violin lead and you think you're going to head off into country mode, but instead it turns into this easy feeling ballad, as a gentle rhythm meanders underneath with strummed guitar. Dorothy's vocal has a feeling of deep wistfulness to it, at the same time as giving us a sense of nostalgia, her delivery almost self harmonizing on the choruses, and gorgeously understated on the verses, with that violin work superbly counterpointing the blues feelings of the vocal with an almost country styling as the two go absolutely hand in hand into a mesmerising sunset.

“Lay My Troubles Down", returns to the bar room as the smoking vocal and sky high harmonica allied to a downright dirty guitar break, provide a sultry slice of electric blues that would be the sort of thing you'd hear in any wild west saloon at the end of a heavy duty drinking day, as she really lays down the vocal with a style and determination that says “don't you dare mess with me, boy” and a smile on its face at the same time, the six shooter firmly at the ready just in case. A stunner of a song.

“Monsters”, at over 6 minutes long, reminds me a bit of what my radio partner Electra was doing on her two solo EP's, as it explores a wide territory of vocal emotions and alleyways, building its instrumentation with harmonica, banjo, guitar, gently solid drums and sax, but in an almost alien musical setting, as a curiously addictive brew of jazzy, bluesy exploration unfolds. Above all of this, the vocal injects such feeling with a taut emotion that you feel might snap at any given minute, the suppressed rage, almost biting you at every opportunity, but still enshrined in its uniquely bluesy world of pain.

“Girl Song” is gently gospelly with piano and organ, while “The Wonder Of You” is the sound of Roy Rogers in Ronnie Scotts club as country meets blues at home on the range next to the saloon, a higher register degree of sultry vocal riding out into the sunrise.

“Speak Out” veritably bounces along for the album so far, as the most commercial sounding song is delivered with an almost soul-pop intensity, the lyrics most engaging, a female backing singer adding to the riches, while bursts of guitar and that wailing harmonica capture the spirit, as the song steams down the railway line with all wheels turning, the vocal showing a much more out-in-the-open flavour to it, blues, soul and pop merging to perfection.

“Grief” does what it says on the tin, as a song is sung that extols its subject matter but with a feeling that is quite awesome, the slowly ascending Nina Simone-esque sultry smoky voice, again returning to the sense of despair but somehow filled with a spirit that makes you want to conquer mountains, the instrumentation becoming more like a choppy sea as the vocal rises above it, ranging from the heartfelt darkness to belting it out with abandon as the waves turn into a hurricane and the guitar plus harmonica unleash a veritable storm of a break that truly takes your breath away on the most ferocious track on the album so far, vocally and instrumentally, but brilliantly written, sung, played and arranged – a gem of a song.

By contrast, “I'm OK” returns to the rolling piano and the smoky soul of a vocal as the gently rhythmic swing of the backing adds electric guitar as a textural necessity and it all glides along effortlessly on its wave of optimistic emotion, the addition of an organ break almost lending an air of early seventies progressive to it, yet another part of her multi-faceted songwriting arsenal.

“On My Own” illustrates the reflection that she puts into her lyrics to a tee, with a song into which you are inexorably drawn, as the nostalgic quality returns, set to a beautifully and equally reflective instrumental backing, while at the same time having a broad grin across its remembering features.

The album ends with “Rest” that finally puts her vocals to the fore against a sparse but still mesmerising backing from guitar, as the softness of the harmonica and her magical vocal ease you into a short but suitably emotional goodbye.

Nearly ready! 

The recording is finished! The mixing and mastering is very close to being finished. The artwork is almost finished. This album is not far away. 

A word from the Producer, David Pendragon: 

This album has been over 2 years in the making and is one of the most powerful, thought provoking and challenging musical works I have ever been involved with. The story behind this album is not mine to tell, Dorothy-Jane will be the one to share that through her songs and writings. 

Suffice it to say that the songs deliver deep emotional connection with her in a way that few artists are ever able to achieve. I have cried at times while working on these mixes. I have experienced a huge range of feelings and at times had no idea how to get the sounds to express them. I think in the end we all achieved that. 

I want to thank all the others involved who helped to bring this album home. Jack Buchanan (Assistant Engineer) Matt Nightingale (Bass) Jack Lewis Barnard (Drums) Alison Penney (Keys) John Mackey (Sax) Julia Horvath (Cello) Ian Cameron (Violin) and the Lady of Harps herself Dorothy-Jane Mariah Gosper. 

It will be a little while before the album is out and about however PLEASE get in touch with Dorothy -Jane and ask her to add you to her fanbase and she will connect with you directly.