Magpie Diaries project born out of tragedy

Magpie Diaries is fronted by Matt ‘Magpie’ Johnston.
Magpie Diaries is fronted by Matt ‘Magpie’ Johnston.

If you’re a fan of 70’s West Coast folk rock, you’re in for a treat.

A band inspired by the likes of The Band, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Van Morrison and more will play songs from their recently released debut record on January 11 at The Brass Monkey.

Magpie Diaries is fronted by Matt ‘Magpie’ Johnston (founder of the Hunter Valley’s popular Dashville / Gumball festivals). 

The band had a sorrowful beginning in the winter of 2012 when the sudden tragic passing of a close friend saw Johnston unassumingly begin 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 forgotten songs and faded memories together in order to play a special solo show at his favourite pub in the world, the Junkyard, Maitland.

Fast forward to November 2018, and Magpie Diaries’s long-awaited debut album - Sanctuary - is released. 

The 11- track album was recorded in various locations over three years and produced by Matt Sherrod (Crowded House, Beck).

Sanctuary delivers Magpie’s story via smooth soul country, with subtle flourishes of psychedelic rock and roll attributed to great acts such as Grateful Dead, Neil Young and Van Morrison, alongside modern artists like Cat Power and My Morning Jacket.

  • Catch Magpie Diaries along with Steve Smyth at the Brass Monkey, Cronulla, on Friday, January 11.