Country/folk group Magpie Diaries have released their long-awaited 11-track debut album ‘Sanctuary’ via Dashville. Originating in Hunter Valley, Australia, singer-songwriter Matt “Magpie” Johnston unassumingly founded Magpie Diaries as a coping mechanism for the loss of a dear friend, channeling his grief into the band’s signature brand of smooth alternative country music, bolstered by a tinge of folk and psychedelic rock straight out of the 70s. Motivated to continue this musical journey, Johnston set to work on the songs, recording Sanctuary with producer Matt Sherrod (Crowded House, Beck, William Crighton), over the next 3 years. Alongside his own musical endeavours, Magpie hosts a festival in his family property once a year. The festival titled The Gum Ball started over 10 years ago and today brings in crowds from around the world.
‘Sanctuary’ is a laid back mellow collection of tracks that melt gloriously into the ears creating a rich easy listening experience. The tracks swoon and glide about melancholic tones and dreamy vibes. Opening track ‘Beat Myself Up’ creates the swaying calm atmosphere with warm raspy vocals, lush harmonies and bittersweet guitar twangs. The guitar melodies in the tracks creates a sweet euphoric tone throughout the album from pining laments to steamy whines in ‘Irresistable Pie’ – the guitars flood each track with rich and varied characters. The album ranges from the upbeat soulful folky tones of ‘When Love Comes, ’10 Honey’ and ‘Beetroot’ to the tender ‘Strawberries & Cream’ and ‘If You’re Hurting’.When Magpie Diaries wants to lull you into a dreamy melancholic country toned stupor they do it superbly with sweet lyrics, beautiful melodies and soft passionate instrumentation and when they want to add a dash of shimmying vibrancy the shift is seamless and joyous without ruining the easy going mood of the album. The foot tapping infectious ‘Mumma’s Right’ and the delicate emotional ‘This Spring’ show this perfectly. The shift in tone is refreshing yet subtle. ‘Wastin’ Time’ thuds in on a darker tone as a stomping beat backs a sultry bluesy guitar and luring mysterious atmosphere. The brass elements through the album are simply sublime and lace each track with a juicy sultry persona. The raw ‘Don’t Give Up’ closes the album on an emotional vibe as glistening keys twinkle softly between strong guitar chords and lush vocals. It’s a passionate bruised end to the album that hits you hard in the chest and pulls at those heart strings. It’s a comforting track that gives hope and motivation in difficult times.
‘Sanctuary’ blends, churns and glides through a multitude of emotions from sensual, melancholic to cheery effortlessly while creating the perfect relaxed atmosphere to submerge yourself in.
Magpie Diaries will support the release of Sanctuary with 4 shows at the prestigious Woodford Folk Festival over New Years, along with an Australian East Coast tour throughout January – March. More information can be found on their socials here https://www.facebook.com/magpiediaries/
Stream ‘Sanctuary’ below
Our Worth A Listen Track This Week Comes From Gavin Glass
The National Treasure that is Gavin Glass has just released a live video for the track ‘Horseshoe Tattoo’. The track, taken from his critically acclaimed 5th album, ‘Opus Pocus’ and is the follow up to the singles ‘Break Your Daddy’s Heart’, and ‘Thirty Somethings’.
‘Horseshoe Tattoo’ is a heartfelt, magical radio ready number that floods, swirls and gracefully swoons over a pristine rock pop backdrop. Glass knows how to grasp the heart of his listeners with every note and strum filled flutter while those relatable lyrics bring it all home. A steady beat maintains a strong foundation as guitars fill the track with nuanced soul and lamenting bluesy tones while Glass’ swagger and emotion filled vocals caress the melody. This smooth, passionate ditty makes time stand still as western-esque country hues swirl into the mix before the anthemic arena ready crescendo that sparks images of massive crowds swaying and singing along with the most passionate expressions on their faces as Glass narrates their lives back to them in the most gripping bittersweet melody ever to grace their ears. It’s a rich and beautifully cultivated track from Gavin Glass.
Watch the live video for ‘Horseshoe Tattoo’ below
Pop rock artist Bane Riff has released his debut single ‘Less Than Enough’, a catchy rock track written to inspire his listeners to pursue those unforgettable moments that we sometimes forget about in the madness of every day life. Fairly new to the industry, Bane Riff came from a background in finance industry. Although running his own successful insurance business, Riff realised that he wasn’t happy and felt that something was missing in his life, from then he decided to act quickly and pursue his true passion. ‘Less Than Enough’ was written over a couple of hours by Riff himself, and recorded in studio with producer Martin Daus, guitarist in several popular Danish pop rock bands. Inspired by a hilarious moment experienced in a restaurant with the restaurant owner and his wife, the track reminds us that life comes down to the moments that you won’t forget. For him, the song is an awakening.
‘Less Than Enough’ is a swagger soaked country drizzled rock track. Riff’s raspy vocals flood warmth into the song while a punchy drum beat, and golden guitar lines add a whack of rock and roll strutting grit. It’s a charming number with a sing along ready Bon Jovi- esque chorus that will have a live crowd bellowing from the top of their lungs. This bright peppy tune will fill you with that get up and go stamina as it exudes good heart warming vibes while packing in some mighty brawn to have you tapping your foot and dancing carelessly in no time. With an irresistible melody and tight production it’s infectious for sure.
Stream ‘Less Than Enough’ below
Hull band Little Blue Thula have released their new single ‘River and a Creek’. The single is taken from the duo’s (Niall Tennison -Vocals, Guitar and Toby Needler -Guitar) upcoming debut album ‘Things You Hear Down the Road’ which will be released on the 8th June. ‘River and a Creek’ is a passionate twanging number with wholesome melodies doused in warm Americana elements. The sweet toned guitar twinkles and whines longingly throughout the bluesy hued melancholic melody while Tennison broods and pines flooding the track with emotion. The lush backing vocals provided by Sarah Shiels add a heavenly sweetness to the track while the tapping beat provides a steady foundation for the mournful guitar to weave between. This track holds a purity that is quite gripping as light instrumentation glides and wisps about building in intensity to the the passionate fist pumping your chest crescendo. A solid new single for this duo.
Stream ‘River and a Creek’ below
Melbourne bluesman and folk balladeer Matt Katsis has recently released his newest 6-track EP,’ As The River Runs’. The EP will be the third release from the artist and the release will be accompanied by an 8-date tour across Australia. The seed was planted for Matt through exposure to family friends playing the acoustic guitar at family gatherings, and since then Matt has grown into a well known Australian alternative singer-songwriter with an individual edge. The successful release of his last EP ‘The Burke & Wills Sessions’ back in 2016 was warmly welcomed and since then Katsis has been working hard on writing and recording his newest collection of tracks. After extensively touring over the past couple of years, Katsis shows no signs of slowing. His newest EP release ‘As The River Runs’ encompasses his distinctive fusion of folk, blues and roots and now, after a recent trip to the US travelling through Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis, his music hints at influences of alternative country and Americana.
‘As The River Runs’ is a wholesome slice of folk and blues flavoured country pie. ‘Colours’ kicks off the EP foot stomping and soaked in bluesy swagger. Gritty guitars screech and whine while a throbbing pulsing beat adds a strong foundation and kick to the track. Katsis’ warm raspy vocals add a gritty texture while guitars wail with a sensual allurement. ’ Need You Here’ is a delicate subtle track with very little instrumentation to start letting Katsis’ soothing warm vocals take the limelight. Light guitar twinkles throughout with delicate percussion chimes and a stomping beat. Golden and wholesome this track glows with infectious bright tones and comforting positivity. Extremely passionate and emotional it’s the kind of track that fills you with hope, puts a smile on your face and brightens your day. ‘All I Wanna Do Is Fly’ is a little darker to start with deep vocals and a shadowy undertone. The vocal harmonies add a chilling coolness to the western like pistols at dawn vibe. It’s a little bit eerie and cold with only the haunting guitar twangs to brighten the track. ‘You & My Guitar’ returns us to the jingly bright bluesy soaked Americana. It’s gentle sway-like tempo and light guitar twinkles evokes images of a sunset and relaxation. With touching vocals and warm tones it’s a blissful cosy blanket to snuggle into. ‘Tomorrow & The Next Day’ again twangs with country warmth. The thing that becomes apparent with this EP is how detailed and moving a guitar feature can be. The guitar twangs really add depth and vibrancy to the track and lift it into a melancholic sense of playfulness and it’s quite beautiful. ‘Need You Here (unplugged)’ brings us to the end of the EP it’s here you feel the true impact and depth of Katsis’ soulful vocals. It’s quite the calming exquisite way to end a beautiful EP.
‘As The River Runs’ is a warm soothing EP brimming with passionate graceful tracks that warm the cockles of your heart. It pure and honest and charming. Each track flows smoothly into the next while displaying subtle variety’s in Katsis’ musicianship and depth. So rich and moving its immensely satisfying and a soul fulfilling adventure.
When asked about the track Katsis said “This EP as a whole pushed me further as a songwriter and led me to cross new territory, using a wider use of instrumentation and taking a closer look into song arrangement.”
You can catch Matt Katsis live at
23rd Sept – Albany, WA
24th Sept – Margaret River, WA
6th Oct – Canberra, ACT
14th Oct – Bendigo, VIC
20th Oct – Mildura, VIC
29th Oct – Adelaide, SA
1st Nov – Melbourne, VIC
23rd Nov – Brisbane, QLD
Stream ‘As The River Runs’ below
Irish Singer Songwriter Lisa Loughrey has released her debut single, ‘Coming Up’ today. Loughrey has previously written songs that have featured in documentaries (RTE Radio1), radio, music blogs (Folk Radio UK, Tradconnect) and local and national press.Up until now, she has been primarily known for her work with Dublin based Alt Folk outfit, The Mariannes. She also won the inaugural Clancy Brothers Award for Songwriting in 2014.The track was recorded in The Nutshed Studios, and was mixed and produced by Nathan Maher and Joe Egan. Performing on the track with Loughrey is multi-instrumentalist Nathan Maher (Buffalo Sunn, Slackers’ Symphony), veteran bassist Damian McMahon (formerly of Tupelo), percussionist/drummer Jacob Fry (BIMM graduate) and Eoghan Keane on trumpet.
‘Coming Up’ is a track that holds the weight of the world on its shoulders but withstands its brutal force. Buoyant light guitar twangs and lush soft lull on backing vocals set the track afloat creating a weightless warm feel while throbbing bass and steady drums add a heavy pulse and thud. Coated in dark tones this track gives a sense of endurance however the elasticity and spring adds hope and strength. Loughrey’s hazy raspy vocals simmer with moving emotion. Simple and smooth the track is foot tapping friendly with an authentic country tone however with striking lyrical depths that hit you hard and cast an eerie shadow. ‘Coming Up’ is richly textured and sophisticated displaying a compelling vocal expression from Loughrey .
When asked about the track Loughrey said “‘Coming Up’ plays like a confessional and deals with the universal themes of disillusionment and remorse, it acknowledges a person’s constant struggle to get ahead in life despite facing withstand from both outside and within. The song itself is also a hat-tip of sorts to the 1970’s folk song ‘Sonny’s Dream’, written by Ron Hynes”
‘Coming Up’ is the first release from Lisa Loughrey’s forthcoming solo album. The single release will be followed by a launch on 8th June at Arthur’s Music Venue, Dublin 8 so make sure to check that out.
Stream ‘Coming Up’ below