Lowdham Village Hall
Performance Review
September, 2008

 

Mad Agnes are three singer musicians from Connecticut who simply defy categorisation. Folk, folk rock, chant, opera, zany comedy numbers, jazzy guitar solos . . . they do the lot.

On Friday they brought their multitude of talents to Lowdham Village Hall, and won over yet another audience on this, their second tour of England. They first visited the UK last year, when they wowed audiences from village halls in the Yorkshire Dales to a crowd of 25,000 at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention.

Their visit to Lowdham came midway through their present tour, and was an ideal vehicle for the three, Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones and Mark Saunders. They gave an assortment of music, mostly self-written, in a peculiarly American folk style, on an assortment of guitars, electric piano and mandolin. Neither Appalachian nor West Coast, their music exuded a skilled yet homey sound that made everyone in the crowd warm to them.

Their songs had such titles as A Manic-Depressive Madrigal and Being Sad Won’t Make It Better, and they gave a view of the world that was highly reminiscent of satirist Tom Lehrer. They were performed to guitars which wove a delicate and intricate tracery of music, rather than a series of chords, and went well with their perfectly matched trained voices.

Towards the end of the evening they thanked the crowd for coming to watch someone they had never heard of. This was a needless nicety. Mad Agnes are famous already to fans of live music from Oxfordshire to the Yorkshire Dales

Frank Chester