The Shenandoah Coffeehouse Series greets the season of Thanksgiving with the eclectic art-folk of Connecticut based trio Mad Agnes in concert at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 13 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, located just a few minutes south of Leesburg.
Mad Agnes is Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones and Mark Saunders. Each member arrived at the trio from a staggering list of solo accomplishments, including songwriting competitions, recordings, and the ability to sleep on any surface. Multi-instrumentalists all, Hennebach is classically trained in piano, Jones is self-taught on guitar and bass, and Saunders adds color with a vintage mandolin and subtle electronic processing on his guitar. The sound can be full as a concert hall or delicate as three voices singing a cappella.
For nine years Mad Agnes has been delightfully impossible to pigeonhole. Folk, classical or Celtic? Soaring harmonies, incisive lyrics or giggly repartee? Choosing from among their bundle of instruments and adding “three-part harmonies as tight as jeans from the dryer” (Rob Weir, The Advocate), the resulting sound is captivating, uplifting and rare.
Released in October, their latest CD, hush, was conceived in response to frequent requests by fans for a collection of their ballads. “It’s a sweet album,” says Jones. “There are still energetic moments and signature sillies, but this was a really heartfelt project.” The cover of hush shows a white upper room in an old house, with peeling paint, fallen plaster and an air of quiet neglect. Soft, bright light filters in through sheer curtains – the tabula rasa, perhaps, on which we continually reinvent ourselves.
Mad Agnes are smart musicians, smart enough to leave audiences wanting more. In this, their final year of touring together, those audiences will be lucky to see them go around one more time before moving on to other projects – because moving on is as much a part of the human condition as anything else they sing about. Linda Morris (Dirty Linen) agrees: “Their music is at once intricate, mesmerizing, whimsical, eclectically intellectual… but, above all, utterly human.”
The Shenandoah Coffeehouse Series concert venue is unique as performances occur with no amplification in true house-concert style and in the tradition of sharing stories and songs on the porch or around the great room. The sound quality in the century-old church is pristine and a memorable listening experience. Artist recordings will be available for purchase at the concert. Admission is $15, first-come, first-served when the doors open at 7:30 p.m.
All concerts are smoke and alcohol free, and provide a comfortable listening setting for relaxed enjoyment of both lyrics and music. The Shenandoah Coffeehouse Series is an environmentally-friendly event; feel free to bring your favorite coffee mug. Coffee and other refreshments are graciously provided by the event hosts, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun.
The next concert will be held Saturday, January 8 featuring fast-rising Americana duo The Honey Dewdrops. For more information, visit http://www.shenandoahcoffeehouse.org.