Magpie Diaries is the dreamy Americana-folk musings of singer-songwriter and Dashville mastermind Matt Johnston.
Well before he started chipping away building boutique festivals on his family's picturesque Lower Belford property such as the beloved Gum Ball, PigSty in July, Dashville Skyline and Thrashville, the man known as "Magpie" has been penning songs. Authentic, wrenching, acoustic based songs, with a candid simplistic story telling approach.
Content to build songs for his own sanity and for those who frequent the bars he likes to play.
'I am very conscious of how we spend our time these days. You've got to have a crack at something, but sometimes having a crack means it consumes you more than life itself. Dashville bares a huge wait to my existence. When it comes to my music, I've been writing and playing live for over 15 years, but it still feel like i am easing into it..'
Magpie's songs capture shared elements of his life growing up in the bush at Dashville and his time travelling about the wide world, the relationships formed, the experiences in between. His songs cruise in their approach, with a late 60's Americana groove, yet have a direct emotional thrust that cuts to the core of the Australian spirit.
In 2015, Magpie and his then fiancée - now wife - Jessica, decided to spend some downtime away from the pressures of independent festival promotion to travel across America.
A leisurely 16,000km drive across the United States from Seattle to Austin in a 1972 Dodge B300. As fate would have it, somewhere along the line, they landed in the Nashville studio of producer and session drummer Matt Sherrod (Crowded House, Beck).
Magpie Diaries recorded two tracks in as many days, which would become the catalyst of a debut release - a five-track EP, titled The Introduction..
On return to Australia, the rest of the songs were picked from an earlier 22 song intense weekend recording session in the kitchen of local Hunter guru Erle Dennis and mixed/mastered in Robbie Long's Funky Lizard Studio.
Some tracks of Magpie Diaries are available on iTunes and Spotify.
Currently Magpie is recording further material, with a future release imminent.
Thur 3rd November 2017
Australian Music Week