At the centre of the creation is the heart and mind of singer-songwriter and Dashville founder Matt “Magpie” Johnston.
In 2004 after a huge solo adventure around the world, Magpie eventually made it home to embrace the lightening bolt idea to host a music festival on the family bush property. Much to the surprise of many, in 2005 the first Gum Ball music festival was held, with Magpie on stage alongside his brother Dan in their teenage rock n blues outfit of the time, Johnny Real & The Lovemakers.
Over the years, just as the audiences have evolved, so has Magpie and his musical vocation. In 2008, after a few years on the festival grind, Magpie Diaries was born as a small songwriting project created by Magpie to help with the grieving of a close friend. This song writing project would soon become a band, which eventually would go onto release music in 2015 (The Introduction EP) and 2018 (Sanctuary LP).
In 2020, alongside his beautiful drumming wife Jessica, Magpie Diaries is very much a dedicated vocation and a release mechanism for a captive powerful heart.
'Constantly growing and learning more about the world, changes the way you see the world. It changes the way you see music and art as both a release mechanism and a weapon for teaching and learning. '
media release - January 2020.
Dashville born and bred, Magpie Diaries are currently working on their next musical release. The follow up to their acclaimed debut album 'Sanctuary' which met the world in November, 2018.
After an extensive 32 date summer tour in support of the first single, the 5 piece band playing alongside good friend Steve Smyth and book ended by acclaimed performances at Woodford Folk festival in Qld and Nannup Festival in WA.
In March the band released they're second official single 'Honey' with another charming video, shot on location at Magpie's home of Dashville at Lower Belford. The video paints a seemingly biographical picture of how the song emerged, growing up in the heavily industrialised area of the Upper Hunter and striving towards an idealism to believe in.
‘ A few years back I was twenty and travelling through parts of Africa and marvelling at the simple nature of people farming, making things and surviving off the land they had come to occupy. Essentially I came home and put that philosophy into play with the creation of The Gum Ball.
‘When I saw this old fellow, parked up with his beautiful canary yellow Datsun staionwagon selling honey, I couldn’t help but think he must have been well travelled and made some smart decsions in life. He looked happy and it got me thinking that this elderly man could hopefully be me one day.’
Magpie Diaries embarked on 'The Honey Chapter' throughout May-July, heading back up to Brisbane and Sunny coast, before travelling through Tamworth via central QLD and into Darwin, playing both their own ticketed shows, a crazy rodeo and the revered Mindil markets. As a troupe of 6 they travelled down the Stuart via Alice Springs, into Adelaide, across to Melbourne and back home again to Dashville. Travelling over 9500kms in 18 days to gallantly complete the final leg of a massive album tour. Solidifying their commitment to the craft and no doubt establishing a growing fan base ready for more things to come.
Dealing with a heavy drought on the local scene throughout the later part of 2019, after their appearance at Dashville Skyline, no plans were made for touring.
Early in 2020, Magpie Diaries headed up to Kamilaroi country to record at Vale Studios, popping down to play a few highlight shows as part of Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Stay tuned for the new music and shows coming soon.
Thank you for supporting the music and the band.
The debut album is available for purchase through the Dashville store
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.