Celebrate Magpie’s 40th Anniversary at Wolf Trap, Oct. 26

They’ll be celebrating a 40th anniversary for Magpie—aka Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino—at the Barns at Wolf Trap tomorrow night, October 16, with a release party and concert with some good friends and possible surprises at 7:30 p.m.

They’ll also be celebrating one of the unique, original, compassionate, musically diverse and gifted duos that exists in the country. Magpie embodies the idea of music which is about commitment to the great issues of the day and of history— in the grand tradition of Pete Seeger, who plays harmonica on one of the songs on their new album— along with the ideals of Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan. It’s an eclectic musical record that’s embedded in causes in which they believe, but also in a great talent and collaboration of huge gifts.

Now living in the Catskills, the couple met at Kent State all these years ago and have been making memorable music and merged their music into their roles as story tellers, educators and advocates for peace and change. They’ve worked with Seeger, Phil Ochs, Kim and Reggie Harris and somehow found time to write West Virginia’s state anthem, “Take Me Back to Harper’s Ferry.”

Wolf Trap and the Barns is a fitting setting for this concert and celebration—which will also feature Ralph Gordon on string bass, Rolly Brown on guitar and percussionist Matt Daynard. They’ve played there many times and are also Master Teaching Artists for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. They won the Wammie Aard for Teraditonal Folk Duo of the Year from the Washington Area Music Association in 1998.

The duo features Leonino’s stirring, searing voice which has been compared to Billie Holiday. Her gift for playing instruments includes the harmonica, mandolin, fretted dulcimer and rhythm guitar. Artzner plays the guitar in the classic, fingerstyle manner of guitar legends like Big Bill Broonzy, Nick Lucas, Rolly Brown and the Reverend Blind Gary Davis. You get the drift—protest, passion, jazz, folk, blues, roots music, rooted in the sufferings of the working poor made visible and aural.

Magpie has a new album out, called “Of Changes and Dreams,” which is billed as a compendium of everything Magpie: you get hard-hitting anti war songs like the one that leads things off, “Follow the Money” as in “Follow the money from the oil can/from Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan…” to the rustic local “Ev’ning in Carolina,” “Sailing Up my Dirty Stream,” written by Pete Seeger. Be sure to listen to Leonino, so clear-voiced, clear-hearted, and very bluesy on “Detour Ahead”—…”Smooth road, clear day/but why am I the only lone travelin’ this way.”

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