Magpie Diaries Sanctuary buy album vinyl Dashville

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

 The album is out now via Dashville.

Check out the latest single 'Honey,' a song about preserving a simple approach to life.

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 released their debut album 'Sanctuary' to Australian audiences Nov 16th, 2018.

After an extensive 32 date tour around Australia, playing alongside good friend Steve Smyth and book ended by acclaimed performances at Woodford Folk festival in Qld and Nannup Festival in WA, Hunter Valley based soul country believers, Magpie Diaries launch out with the second official single from their debut full length release.

Alongside this latest single release, comes another charming video, one which paints a seemingly biographical picture of the wholesome roots of where the song comes from.

For those who haven’t got their hands on a copy of the liner notes inside the vinyl record, the story of Honey comes from the mind of Magpie as he passed by an elderly man selling Honey by the side of the road outside of Singleton, one of the most heavily industrialised regions of NSW. 

‘ A few years earlier I was 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 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 will tour nationally throughout May-July in support of the release.

Tickets are available via Dashville or the venue direct.

The album is available for purchase through the Dashville store


'..beyond being a beautiful recording it’s a real genuine slice of classic Australian music, which is rare as hens teeth.  I hear a lot of stuff in there from Hunters to really obscure acts like The Apartments, and the much better side of alt country we do in this land, but it’s all digested and comes out very much your own - again very rare.' (Glen Richards, Augie March)

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)

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"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)



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.