'Sanctuary' is the long-awaited debut album from Magpie Diaries.

 The album is out now via Dashville.

Debut single 'When Love Comes', typifies the laid back sound and wry poetry of writer Magpie Johnston's music.

MDs Sanctuary tour Poster

Magpie Diaries is the authentic folk musings of singer-songwriter and Dashville founder Matt "Magpie" Johnston.

Alluding to an era of more simplistic notions, Magpie Diaries take flight into an abundant musical sanctuary with this 11-track debut album; a sanctuary that delivers Magpie’s story via smooth soulful folk country, with subtle flourishes of psychedelic rock 'n' roll attributed to great acts like Grateful Dead, Neil Young and Van Morrison, melded with modern influences such as Cat Power and My Morning Jacket.

Sanctuary is a journey through the past and into the future, where one can still roam with wild exuberance,  where the desire to perform is matched with the desire to escape and unravel inside the music.

Sanctuary is Magpie’s happy place.


Dashville born and bred, Magpie Diaries release their debut album 'Sanctuary' to Australian audiences Nov 16th, 2018.

Though some of the songs are over 10 years old, the album was recorded in various locations over a three-year period. Mullumbimby, Laguna, Nashville and Maitland. The album was produced by Matt Sherrod.

This will be the first official release for Dashville as a label. We hope you enjoy the music, if so please buy the album so we can release a few more!

The album is available for purchase through the Dashville store

A national album tour is running throughout January - March 2019.


Sanctuary is their debut album and finds them inhabiting a sweet spot right at the nexus of country, soul and psychedelia.

There’s a warm and communal feel right across the album, its woolly and homespun vibe come off like The Band but they colour the music with some beautiful saxophone playing that combines perfectly with cosmic Americana pedal steel sounds and plenty of country twang and strum in the guitars. (Post To Wire)

"The monsters of the hellish day were suddenly, non-violently, given the bum's rush by a mob of brightly coloured elves whose singing and dancing and smiling was, frankly, infectious. My mind was then soothed by the far-off mating of bittersweet prairie guitars and knowing back-verandah harmonies, a saxophone soaring on the wedgetail's wing, the music propelled with carefree grace by lyrical beauty and honesty mined directly from spirits unbound. It was, as you can see, an all-time subconscious jam, detonated by one serious drink, this fluke potion with voodoo healing power.

The name for this wonder came to me in a vision... I called it Magpie Diaries."

(words by Ben Quinn)

Magpie Diaries Sanctuary buy album vinyl Dashville


The band title and songs centre around the unique mind of singer-songwriter and Dashville founder Matt ‘Magpie’ Johnston.

Matt committed to being a resourceful trojan hosting music festivals in his parents front yard since 2004, had somehow acquired a working pseudonym as the Magpie, due to his nature of swooping in on anything tangible that would potentially provide service to the festival site.

In the winter of 2012, after the sudden tragic passing of a close friend, Johnston began the Magpie Diaries project as a way of coming to terms with the loss. The emotional journey led him to revisit past musical escapades and written memoirs, where he pieced memories together in order to play a special solo show at his favourite pub in the world, the Junkyard.

Fast forward to July 2018, together with his wife Jessica on drums and vocals, national treasure Lyle Dennis on lead guitar, Chris Dale on bass and special guest Cassie Bofinger on tenor saxophone, the band known as Magpie Diaries are excited about the prospects of touring the east coast of Australia throughout July and August in support of this first official release.

Another version...
Born and bred to be the Dashville man, he grew up on the same rural property where he now hosts some of the best weekend outdoor parties Australia has to offer. Generally consumed by festival creation and the “running of the project”, it was the desire to play music that started it all.
It’s been a rollicking 13 years since the first Gum Ball was held, where he first stood on stage alongside his brother Dan in their teenage rock n blues outfit Johnny Real & The Lovemakers. Over the years, just as the audiences have grown, so has Magpie and his musical vocation. Through development within the all-star band the Dashville Progress Society, his brotherhood with Baghead and his beautiful drumming wife Jessica, he is slowly but surely working his way towards sharing a collection of personal music that tells his story within this crazy world. Originally Magpie Diaries was a performance concept where Magpie set out to compile and perform all his random writings amongst various books and scrap paper, from time spent travelling, under the influence or in solitary confinement in the back shack at Belford as a teenager. The songs are old soul, unique and somewhat timeless, some are new, some are about 18 years old. One thing is for sure though, a catalogue of music has begun that will appeal to anyone who enjoys laid back music from the heart.


Magpie Diaries

MEDIA - Images & Content

Visit here for high res and low res images, bio etc of the artist.

MEDIA - Dashville's story

Dashville was created by Magpie when he started The Gum Ball back in 2005, this is a story he wrote about that journey.