Magpie

Magpie

BandFolkAcoustic

Greg & Terry: the most amazingly versatile duo you'll ever hear. Their folk is a broad category: trad, old-time, swing, topical, original, and more. 2 powerful voices and superb guitar-driven instrumentals that include harmonica, mandolin dulcimer and 2nd guitar. After 36 years, they are legendary!

Band Press

MAGPIE one-sheet – n/a

MAGPIE PUBLICITY INFORMATION SHEET

NAMES OF ARTISTS AND INSTRUMENTATION:
Greg Artzner-vocals, harmony vocals, guitar, English concertina
Terry Leonino-vocals, harmony vocals, harmonica, mandolin, dulcimer, guitar, hand drum, Native American flute.
DESCRIPTION OF MAGPIE’S MUSIC:
Various folk music styles including traditional, classic blues, country, jazz, and Celtic, as well as songs by musical heroes and “she-roes” including Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Tom Paxton, Buffy St.Marie etc. (a list too long to name all!) MAGPIE also writes and sings songs they have written, many of historical, cultural and social interest, and with a large selection of songs focusing on Civil Rights and the environment.
Terry and Greg’s sound is that of two very strong voices, one female, one male, in powerful leads and two-part harmony, accompanied principally by Greg’s virtuoso guitar arrangements embellished by excellent complement from Terry’s second guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and dulcimer. It’s a powerful sound, full of passion and fire, with a tremendous range and versatility.
ADDITIONAL DESCRIPTION:
With a career that spans more than 3 decades, Magpie has won three Washington Area Music Association “WAMMIE” AWARDS in 1998, 2000, and 2001 for BEST TRADITIONAL FOLK DUO. In 2004 the World Folk Music Association presented them with the John Denver Memorial Award for music and environmental activism.
Their play and song cycle “SWORD OF THE SPIRIT” has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and performed in many places around the country after it’s debut at HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL PARK for their JOHN BROWN 2000 commemoration. Their song “Take Me Back to Harpers Ferry” received the 1999 ADDY AWARD for best song of the year. Their other play, a musical entitled “TALES OF THE BLUE CRAB” has been featured at the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION at Smithsonian’s DISCOVERY THEATRE and as part of their Festival of American Folklife. Terry & Greg have performed in innumerable other concert halls, theatres, museums and schools across the country.
RECENT RELEASES AND FEATURES:
Magpie’s 11th CD “In This World” was released in fall, 2008 on SLICED BREAD RECORDS. In summer of 2005 Musicians United to Sustain the Environment & the Rachel Carson Council released Greg & Terry’s compilation “Songs for the Earth: a Tribute to Rachel Carson.” Terry has been recently featured in DULCIMER PLAYERS NEWS including the front cover photo and feature article on her and Magpie as well as tablature for “Take Me Back to Harpers Ferry.” Other notable songs by Magpie that have been often sung in national and international protest marches and rallies, sung in jails, on picket lines, in churches, and used in today’s modern Civil Rights and environmental protection movements are: “Give Light” and “We Belong to the Earth”.
WEB-LINK: www.magpiemusic.com

"Raise Your Voice" – Sing Out!

After 30 years of practice Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, who are Magpie, have reached perfection with Raise Your Voice. This recording, co-produced by Terry Leonino and Ron Freeland combines 15 great songs, flawlessly performed with just the right accompaniment and production. Artzner and Leonino provide nearly all the instrumentation, with Ralph Gordon contributing masterful acoustic bass. Jeff Harding adds Dobro on a couple of tracks and Freeland peppers the album with light percussion where appropriate. Artzner and Leonino sing easily together with the love of the music and each other that has only grown over the years. The variety of material on the CD keeps it fresh for nearly endless replays. Only a third of the songs are originals. They open with their setting of Woody Guthrie’s “This Morning I Am Born Again.” They follow this with Guthrie’s rarely heard “Heaven My Home.” What keeps Magpie’s CDs fun is the departure from the expected. In this outing they include the lively Webster-Baer-Loeb piece from the 1930s “Me Minus You,” and the McCarthy-Flanagan “Underneath the Arches.” Then they bring to life Bryan Bowers’ “Friend for Life,” following this with a song they wrote for Terry’s late mother “Arkansas Girl.” They keep their political edge with their response to those who refuse to book them because of their activism “Too Political,” and follow this with the Phil Ochs/Bob Gibson composition “One More Parade.” Then they veer into ecology with their powerful “Who Will Speak for the Trees?” followed by Dean Stevens’ heartbreaking song about the extinction of salmon, “Salmon River.” They also include Andy M. Stewart’s charming “Ferry Me Over,” and Victor Jara’s visionary “Vientos del Pueblo.” They state their credo beautifully with their original “Raise Your Voice” with harmonies by Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow, and conclude with Pete Seeger’s hopeful “Quite Early Morning.” Great voices and harmonies, superb material, with sensitive and appropriate production make this one for the ages. –Rich Warren

"Give Light" – Sing Out!

Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, who are Magpie, celebrate 25 years together making music with Give Light. I can’t think of a more appropriately titled release. This recording absolutely radiates light, glowing with great songs in radiant performances. Produced by Leonino and engineer Ronnie Freeland, Magpie serves up an ample helping of 16 songs, a combination of originals and covers. Don’t let the first two tracks mislead you. Magpie opens with a couple of old-time, light-hearted tunes by the Boswell Sisters, and Lewis and Waring. These percolating numbers lower your defenses for the powerful songs that follow, such as Bob Franke’s masterpiece “For Real,” Betsy Rose’s mesmerizing “Water, Fire and Smoke,” and Phil Ochs’ “There But for Fortune.” The instrumental accompaniment to “For Real,” Artzner’s guitar and Leonino’s mandolin, along with Ralph Gordon’s bass is perfect. Artzner and Leonino once again prove they are first rate songwriters, too, with songs such as “Kent” about the 1970 Kent State massacre, to which Leonino was a witness, “From the Heart,” which sums up what this CD is all about, and the anthemic title song “Give Light,” based on the words of Ella Baker. There’s even a loving ode to the Cuyahoga River to counteract Randy Newman’s ridicule of the once dead and burning river. Several of the songs deal with civil rights, such as “Mary Brown, Abolitionist,” [by Peggy Eyres] the second wife of John Brown, and Pat Humphries’ superb “Bound for Freedom.” Artzner and Leonino prove over and over they are people who feel the music from their hearts, and have the talent to convey their sincerity and love through voice and instruments. This is the kind of CD for which the repeat button on your player was designed. It remains fresh and vital no matter how many times you listen. The reason that Magpie is not more famous is that Artzner and Leonino refuse to sell-out. Their music is their religion, and Give Light comes very close to the divine.
–Rich Warren

A Night of Acoustic Honesty – Bellingham, WA

In a world where music is synonymous with business, where a singer is automatically a spokesperson, listening to the unapologetic honesty of Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner is a welcome relief. The folk music artists who performed Wednesday at the Roeder Home on Sunset Drive in Bellingham radiated friendliness and hospitality to each guest of the show.
Married for 31 years, Leonino and Artzner were students at Kent State University in Ohio when they decided to collaborate in traditional folk, "labor-oriented" music, Leonino said.
The pair are social activists, commenting on social issues such as racism and the environment. They tell stories that might not otherwise gain attention, and they call themselves "oral historians," Leonino said.
At home in the small but comfortable venue, Leonino and Artzner chatted comfortably with members of the audience between songs, explaining the story behind each song and making sure the audience knew enough to join in. Through their soaring harmonies and superior musicianship, the pair tackled issues such as politics, with lyrics like, "cut a Bush to save a tree," and "without a paper ballot, I am wary." They presented songs titled, "Republicans for Kerry" and "Condoleeza."
They also commented on environmental issues and the Civil War, the latter of which the pair spent three years researching for a play they wrote based on the letters between abolitionist John Brown and his wife, Mary. The songs performed in this set highlighted their incredible versatility and how well they complement each other, both mentally and musically.
While it was obvious most people in the audience of 25 were familiar with each of the songs and even suggested some of their own, the atmosphere of the room was open and friendly, accepting comments and encouraging singing from the first-timers.
"When you feel moved to sing ... just join right in," the couple said to the crowd. Leonino said they write many of their songs together and get ideas anywhere from current political fodder to billboards advertising God's message, as in "Give the Devil an Inch and He Will Be a Ruler."
Artzner plays the acoustic guitar, and Leonino plays at least five different instruments. The couple sang songs in Spanish, and Leonino also translated one song into American sign language.
"Folk music is the music of the people," Leonino said.
The two and their audience displayed this passion for people. The duo said they have been activists for many years.
"Ten, 20, 30 and 40 years of activism," Leonino said, looking around the room. She also said, in reference to the current Bush administration, "We have to do something."
–Leslie Lizotte

"Raise Your Voice" & "Songs for the Earth" – The Washington Post

For more than 30 years, Magpie duo Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner have justified their moniker by bringing bright, borrowed treasures into their nest. But they're not capricious collectors: Everything they gather is put into service of the art, usually of a message as well. On their 10th CD, "Raise Your Voice," they're proud to mock their critics with the sneering blues of "Too Political," in which a promoter demands: "Can't you just play some country, jazz or blues?"
Well, yes, they can. Artzner and Leonino's affinity for '30s music shines on Connee
Boswell's "Me Minus You," as does Akira Otsuka's lively mandolin. "Underneath the Arches,"
another song from the same era, couches its sadness about poverty in a bravely blithe melody.
"When you learn a song you've got a friend for life," Artzner croons in Bryan Bowers's
"Friend for Life," and Magpie seeks even more friends with original compositions. The title track
was written as a rallying cry against the 2003 Iraq invasion, and its message is pretty straightforward. More intriguing is the couple's musical setting for Woody Guthrie's lyric "This Morning I Am Born Again"; it boasts one of those mid-tempo 1960s-style melodies that can be sung out heartily, as
Artzner proves here, but carries a melancholy that would make it work equally well if whispered.
It's the subtlety of Magpie's approach that sets them apart from other musical social-justice crusaders. The members wield the folk tropes well -- the long-held vowels, the tremolo. Leonino, in particular, has a dry, witty edge to her voice that lightens the mood. Artzner sounds a good bit like
John Denver, not the over-the-hill pop star who lent his voice to the treacle of later years, but the troubadour who first joined the Chad Mitchell Trio.
Leonino and Artzner join a bevy of other conscious folk artists on "Songs for the Earth: A Tribute to Rachel Carson." Opening with Pete Seeger's ramble through a polluted landscape in "My Dirty Stream," this collection of 17 songs, conceptualized by Magpie and benefiting environmental efforts through the Rachel Carson Council and Musicians United to Sustain the Environment, offers
a surprising range of approaches within the folk idiom. Bill Oliver's "Queen Invicta" is an arch, somewhat hokey ballad about a fire ant; by contrast, Kat Eggleston's lovely "Go to the Water" aims
for the primal need to seek solace in nature. Casey Neill creates earthshaking bluegrass for
"Hallowed Be Thy Ground," while Tom Paxton observes pithily, "When It's Gone, It's Gone." Tish Hinojosa, Gordon Bok and Emma's Revolution are among the other musicians who lend their talents
to this collection, which closes with Carson's own words about the controversy surrounding her 1962 call to action, "Silent Spring." "Is industry becoming a screen through which facts must be filtered?" she wonders. Not the music industry, if Magpie has anything to do with it. –Pam Winters

"Sword of the Spirit" – The Washington Post

Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, better known as the award-winning folk duo Magpie, have created a fascinating work with “Sword of the Spirit,” which looks at the history and legacy of abolitionist John Brown and the famous Harper’s Ferry raid of October, 1859. Brown hoped his violent civil action would galvanize the nation against slavery, which he called “sum of all villainies.” He failed and two months later, Brown and those in his party not killed in the raid were hanged. Sixteen months later, the Civil War began.
“Sword of the Spirit” is a musical extrapolation of a similarly titled one-act play created by Artzner, Leonino and Richard Henzel, set in Brown’s jail cell and constructed as letter-based conversations between Brown and his wife, Mary. Like the letters, the songs recount tumultuous history in decidedly human terms, focusing not just on Brown but his family and several others who made the ultimate sacrifice to end slavery.
Si Kahn’s kaleidoscopic “Old John Brown” provides a frame for the story, while Peggy Eyres’ “Mary Brown, Abolitionist” locates the familial cost of the raid. And Woody Guthrie’s “The Ballad of Harriet Tubman and Kim & Reggie Harris’ eloquent “Heaven is Less Than Fair” evoke the horror and anticipation of travel on the Underground Railroad.
Artzner and Leonino wrote the seven remaining songs after a tremendous amount of research at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the Library of Congress and elsewhere, relying on original documents and particularly, letters by the participants. As compelling as the Browns’ story may be, it is the voices of three former slaves [sic*] who fought and died with Brown that imbue this tale with deeper moral authority. They were Shields Green (“I Stood on the River of Jordan/Heaven Bound”), Dangerfield Newby (“Dangerfield”) and “John Copeland,” and their roles are wisely elevated in the musical telling of the story.
Brown’s personal epiphanies are recounted in “Goodbye to Old Ohio” and “Captain,” in which he states his conviction the “only blood can purge these crimes [of slavery] away.” And just as Si Kahn’s opening song offers a snapshot of coming events, the closing “Testimony of Frederick Douglass recasts them with both personal and historic perspective. Distant history is made human by song, in voices that feel authentic and committed.
––Richard Harrington

* artist’s note: Shields Green escaped from slavery in Charleston, SC. John Copeland of Oberlin, Ohio was never a slave.

Reviews of concert performances – various

About Magpie's Live Performances :

" Magpie, the duo of Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner, proved their versatility by appearing in workshops covering such diverse musical areas as country duets, jazz, and work songs. They handle all that material with skill and conviction, and one would hope they will return again soon." (Vancouver Folk Music Festival)
- Fiona McQuarrie, The Province (Vancouver, BC)

"Ms. Leonino's singing was a joy. Her vocal inflections danced around a song with the grace of an Olympic figure skater. She was an impressive instrumentalist as well, showing her expertise on mandolin, dulcimer, harmonica, and kazoo. Artzner's powerful baritone was a perfect match for Ms. Leonino's voice. His guitar work was likewise stellar, especially when he tackled the tricky time signatures of the swing era compositions." (Kingsbury Concerts, Kingsbury, NY)
- Mike Curtin, The Post Star (Glens Falls, NY)

"...simply, absolutely, unequivocally wonderful...they'll thrill you to boots, melt your heart...The controlled beauty of Terry's singing is what hits you first, but she also plays a mean harp, and Greg's relaxed accompaniment compliments her perfectly. And when they yodel in harmony... well you can wave ta-ta to your heart."
(Norwich Folk Festival, Norwich, England)
- Colin Irwin, Melody Maker (London, England)

"They demonstrated the qualities that have made their records and folk festival appearances much admired all over North America: the breadth of their musical tastes, the depth of their commitment to humanist ideals, the precision of their chamber-folk arrangements and, above all, the graceful sympathy of their vocal harmonies–refined over the years to an effortless rapport." (15th Anniversary Concert, Washington, DC)
- Geoffrey Himes, The Washington Post

"To experience this bigger-than-life Magpie sound gave you a sensational feeling...gentle and generous to the ear. A tumultuous applause and a standing ovation brought them back on stage to do their parting song..." (Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC)
- Sandra Katz, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC)

"How lucky I am to have lived to see and hear more links in the chain." (People's Music Network, Brooklyn,NY)
- Pete Seeger, Sing Out!

"Magpie performs songs of and for the Earth. The absolute perfection and clarity of their arrangements and harmonies is masterful and stunningly emotional. They are among the finest songwriters and performers of our era."
- Baltimore Folk Music Society