Notes from the Road 
Welcome to the road journal for MAD AGNES
(Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones & Mark Saunders)! 
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Posted August 31, 2007

Pictures from our first England Tour in 2007! 


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                                                  Mad Agnes in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
  (Acoustic Bistro photos by Barry Stacey)
A wonderful restaurant and music cafe (with the best Moussaka we've ever had) and a curio shop attached.  The Acoustic Bistro is also a B&B.  On arrival we learned that "Kirkby" is pronounced "Kirby."  We kept mispronouncing it anyway, and one lady came up after the show and said, "You may be in 'Kirk-bee Stephen,' but you're from 'CONNEKticut!' "

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                                               Cropredy was sold out -- 25,000 tickets

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                  Backstage wristbands                     Dave Pegg, Fairport's esteemed bass player

We'll have pics of our set soon -- coming from someone else's camera.  Check back!

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                     York's Minster                                                   Our home in a former life

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The priory ruins on Lindisfarne,
also known as Holy Island -- destination for many a pilgrimage.  Aidan founded the original monastery in 635; Vikings ransacked the island for about 80 years between 793 and 875.  Cuthbert, a successor to Bishop Aidan, remained incorrupt after his death and was declared a saint.  His relics were eventually moved to Durham.  Meanwhile the priory was built on the site of the monastery in the 12th Century, and was finally dissolved by that Shunworship, Henry VIII, in 1537.  After a brief term as a military stronghold, the priory was partially dismantled to provide stones for the castle on the promontory.  The castle wasn't involved in any battles, except perhaps with the sea -- the island is inaccessible, except by boat, whenever the tide comes in.  Visitors have to make sure the causeway isn't flooded when they plan to come, or leave.

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              Yorkshire barley...                                                      Cumbria roads...

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                                  We stopped in heaven on our way to Reeth...

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                 Our beloved agent, Jacey Bedford!  On a windy hilltop in Yorkshire.

Those are the basics.  We only have about 300 other pictures.  Now that we're back we're gearing up for all our Fall shows, which include the Midwest and Texas (we got a formal showcase at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance in Austin!), as well as the Minstrel Coffeehouse in Morristown, NJ, and various things close to home.  We left the bass in England so we wouldn't have to fly it each year -- and that means that next week I'll be bass-shopping  (as opposed to bass-shipping). 

THANK YOU, everyone who signed up on our email list in England.   We can't wait to see you again next year.

And just belabored and redundant thanks to Simon Nicol, of Fairport Convention, who advocated to get us into Cropredy. 

New songs coming!

A, M&M

Thank you for taking all the Mad Agnes 2007 UK Tour shirts off our hands!  We'll have more next year.

GirlTee.JPG (27669 bytes)   GuyTee.JPG (28303 bytes)  Teefront.JPG (16751 bytes)   Teeback.JPG (49262 bytes)
      Women's                                   Men's

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy belated Memorial Day, everyone.  I awoke laughing at 6am yesterday from a dream.  The neighborhood was so quiet I wondered if I'd been transported to another planet in the night.  (If you knew my neighborhood you'd know what I mean.)  I had to go out for a walk just to make sure I was still in Willimantic.  Everyone was sleeping off their pre-Memorial Day parties, apparently, except for a few birds.  It was lovely.

And we're pinching ourselves still, because last night we went to see
Fairport Convention and (click for link:) they were so amazing.  The acoustic trio version they bring to the States is Simon Nicol, Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie.  Among them they play guitar, fiddle(s), mandolin and bouzouki.  We sat or stood in line for half an hour with some very hardcore fans who traded trivia and memories about the band.  Mark managed to squeeze in towards the front (that thing he does) and got us the table right in front of the stage, so we could slobber practically on their feet.  Two single gentlemen were seated with us, and we decided it would be easier for everyone if we all just called each other Agnes.  The concert kicked butt and they were very personable afterwards, suffering all our questions and compliments with their unwavering English charm.   They even gave us a plug from stage when they were talking about Cropredy!  We felt all ticklish and awestruck.

So what did we do today, to balance out all that thrill?  I worked for 8 hours on our PowerPoint presentation for the school show we're doing this weekend.  Mark got up at 4am and spent 3 hours researching direct-flight tickets for us to the Midwest, and trying to use some certificates he got from the airline which gave him some trouble.  He then spent the rest of the day untying various other knots in our business.  Margo had Feldenkrais clients, visitors, errands, booking and house stuff to attend to.   Ah, the glamour, I'm telling you.

Finally:  We're happy to report that we've raised over $3,000 towards the England tour!  Thank you, everyone who has donated!  We love you.

Back to work!

A, M & M

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just came across some photos I took in Texas last March.  We went on a spectacular hike with our dear friends from Neverlandia, and ended up picking up a lot of other people's trash along the way.  In a found bucket, no less.

trash.JPG (49598 bytes)   Ack!  This is what comes of developing a recycling program for schoolkids.   We used to be untroubled by awareness.  Then we didn't have to think about the problem -- but lift the veil with a little research and suddenly there is garbage everywhere!

After our good deed we had time to explore the rocks and rivers.

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                      Kay and Adrienne...                                                      ...and Talbot

2hearts.JPG (9108 bytes)      more Austin sights...     turtles.JPG (10186 bytes)

We like to mark every Texas tour with some bizarre health issue, so this year we all came down with bronchitis.  In an attempt to help Margo heal faster, we consulted a chinese herbalist who suggested a mashed garlic poultice for her feet.  In the morning, not only was her cough the same, but her feet were covered with gigantic blisters.  We did take fascinating photos of them but trust me, they're too gross to put here.  It was several days before she could even put her shoes back on, and meanwhile Mark was carrying her in and out of buildings.  Gigs went on as scheduled, and I must say she was remarkably cheerful throughout the whole, strange ordeal.

We've been hither and yon since then, and are preparing in countless ways for our England tour.  I'm working on another poetry book (as well as "Raising My Mother"), we're bringing our school show around, and M&M decided they weren't quite busy enough, so they're  moving this summer as well. 

We've passed the halfway mark in our fundraising drive and are very grateful to everyone who has donated their hard-earned dollars to help us get across the ocean in August.   One of our favorite venues in Annapolis, the 333 coffeehouse, passed the hat at one concert for a "Send Mad Agnes Packing!" collection, and then matched the amount.   Thank you, thank you.  We're humbled by the response, and we know we wouldn't be doing this without our fans and loved ones.

As inspiration (like we need more), we're going out to the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA this Sunday to hear the three-person version of Fairport Convention.  It's a great, fun show at a wonderful venue, so if you're in the area, think about coming out for dinner and music.  I've seen the likes of Dougie MacLean there in past years, and Pentangle -- speaking of which, I might have to go catch Bert Jansch at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on June 6th.  That'll be two concerts in two weeks, more than I usually get out to in a year.

Speaking of getting out, the woods are calling and so is the laundromat, so it's time to sign off.  Step away from the computer!

Adrienne (&Mg&Mk)

Tal.JPG (45959 bytes) Bead sculpture by Talbot -- installed at the Austin Int'l Airport

Friday, February 2, 2007

Our snow boots sit patiently in the closet.  It's February and our fair state has seen no lasting snow yet this winter.  I've never known this to happen in the Northeast, and while we wonder what it portends globally, we give thanks that every time we've returned from a tour, the driveway has been clear.

Revenants has been released and sent to some 440 radio stations; it's charted as the #2 album on the Folk DJ list for January 2007; we've done our whirlwind Florida tour and are gearing up for a stint in West Virginia, then a longer trip to Georgia and Memphis for the National Folk Alliance.  In the midst of all this we landed a plum gig in England for this summer.  That ramped up the activity quite a bit as we set about booking a rather last-minute tour in the UK -- and as of yesterday we've found a wonderful agent (Jacey Bedford Tour Management) to take over that job.  We love her already and can't WAIT to go to England.  It's been such a dream of ours ever since, um... we were born, really, and we feel like the sky has opened up and graced us with rubies.

One of the things we talk about is that, when we're in England, all of our material will be new again.  It's giving us a fresh perspective on all our songs.  Somehow it makes us feel very rich, having this great body of work to draw from.  Mad Agnes will be six years old this summer!

Still, we feel we want to fatten up our repertoire with a few more a cappellas before we go.  We want to be prepared to sing at a moment's notice, anywhere.

Stay tuned for information about our planned
"No Visible Means of Support" fundraising effort towards the UK tour.  Better yet, go to our mailing list and sign up.   You'll read it all in our monthly newsletter.


Adrienne (and Margo and Mark)

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006

So much has evolved this year, it's seemed very difficult to keep up with the road notes.   Finishing the album, moving into other creative endeavors (Margo's Feldenkrais; my [Adrienne's] Celebrancy studies), working up new material.  The newsletter has been undergoing a slow overhaul with learning curve attached.  This year has passed incredibly quickly and we're ramping up for a very busy November, including a midwest tour.

Mark just got a new computer, which was long overdue, and his end of business should be a lot more pleasant now -- not to mention faster.  (Does this mean we can give him MORE stuff to do?)  He has made a complete physical transformation these last few months.   Though he's tired of us talking about it, I want to mention officially that he's dropped about 40 lbs. and has become a runner, inspiring Margo and me to get ourselves into better shape as well.

I just got a new bed, also overdue, so my new challenge is getting out of it... as for the Celebrancy course, it's fascinating -- this is about creating and officiating rituals, such as weddings and other rite-of-passage events, based on the clients' wishes and backgrounds.  I just participated in a house-blessing ritual for my sister, along with another friend who provided a traditional Peruvian despacho, a table ritual involving the burning of peat and incense, and wishing on what are usually coca leaves -- but we used holly, as that's what I'd used to festoon the front door.

Talking River Books is growing; I'm gathering stories for a collection called, "Raising My Mother:  Stories of the Women Who Raised Us."  If anyone would like to submit a story about his/her mother to be considered for the book, please contact me.    If you want more information about TR Books, go here.

We're gearing up the promotion for Revenants' official release in January (though of course we have copies for you now), writing copy and editing it to death with our patient publicist, Kari.  Every day seems totally full.  I'm rebelling by going to the CT Renaissance Faire on Sunday.  Anyone care for a joust or a game of human chess?

Enjoy this early fall air and the changing colors!

Adrienne (for The Mads)

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

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                               Impromptu photos at an old white building in a field

And here's something you've never seen before!  Jennifer Archer is a dancer and choreographer in Homestead, Florida.  In a unique example of art begetting art, she's recently choreographed a  piece to "A Manic-Depressive Madrigal," with her young dancers dressed as tree frogs.  Check it out:

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Photos by: Bradley Marshall
Project: 'SOUND OFF', Homestead, FL May 13, 2006
Dancers: Ciara Garcia, Holley Abbott, Karime Castillo, Stacey Walters
Choreography: 'Bermuda Tree Frogs' by Jennifer Archer, ASCENTIAL DANCE COLLECTIVE

Thanks, Jennifer, for sending the photos along!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mad Agnes makes the New York Times!

Go here to see the article.  Our picture didn't make it onto the web, but it was in the hard copy.    They don't reproduce well but here it is:

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Well, I guess that could be anybody, but it was really us.

After rehearsing diligently yesterday, the band decided to see The Da Vinci Code.  We'll be good and not say anything about it in case you haven't seen it, and want to.  But we enjoyed it!

Come see us in Rowayton this Saturday.

The Mads

Friday, February 3, 2006

Back from Florida!  And it was 48 degrees in Connecticut today.

We stayed with some very fine folks this trip; thanks first to Celinda for housing us without even seeing us first.  Celinda has a cute little bungalow with some fanciful friends in residence:

Gargoyle.JPG (88837 bytes)  I'm not certain but I think he's checking email.   There's a pair of Dog-goyles guarding the front of the house, too. 

   I doubt any mean spirits ever get in.      Doggoyle.JPG (73048 bytes)     At first I thought it was odd to have blue mushroom soup, but then I saw the local flora...

Blue Shrooms.JPG (54589 bytes)  ...and realized, that's just how they do things here!  But best of all was the canine company.  One very large and serene Great Dane.

                                  BigDog2.JPG (44051 bytes) ...who was interested in my chicken.

We had our live interview and performance on WMNF in Tampa, which you can hear at: Wait through about a minute of easy-listening jazz first; then we're on.  Then it was off to Floral City, where we stayed again with our friends Pete and Laura in their little slice of heaven.  They now have a kitty, who arrived under the hood of a friend's car one day.  You can somewhat see her in Laura's arms here:

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Here are a couple more images from Floral City... the venue, and the Mads awaiting their dinner.

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Jim & Gayle Morris drummed up a houseful and a half of people for our appearance!   Someone had made a giant chocolate chip cookie for the occasion and at the end of the night it was GONE.

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                                 Morris Crowd.JPG (54970 bytes)   One happy crowd.

This is where we first learned about "Florida snow."  We set up the CDs outside and, by the end of the set, they were laced with dew.

Gayle kindly gave me some time-release cold medication, as by that time I was going down the path of the airborne virus.  We had a great,  impromptu outdoor breakfast (omelettes on the grill!) when the electricity went out in the neighborhood before dawn.  Then we drove five hours to our next radio show in Miami... and then had a few days off, visiting with Margo's parents.  They took us to some wonderful restaurants and made sure we wouldn't lose any weight this trip!

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How about a pool with a waterfall? 

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The Bixbys have one.  It was too cold to swim, but we did get some exercise on the trampoline before playing our house concert there.  I'm hoping Mark can put up a video of it soon, so check back if it's not there now.  (The trampoline, not the concert.)

Thanks, too, Bixbys and Hewitts, for generously housing us on this trip.  We came to think of it as the Bed & Breakfast tour.  We closed the second weekend at the Sailing Squadron, run by the very dedicated and loving Sarasota Folk Club.  Then we got up early one more time to fly Delta Song home.

We hear rumors that they're going under, and we'll be Delta Sad.  They're musician friendly and they fly directly out of Hartford to a lot of places!

It seems we're already gearing up for Texas later this month, but meanwhile I hope some of you can catch us this weekend either in Massachusetts or Connecticut.  Check our gig schedule for details.  And travel safely.

The Mads

Oh, so ready to be home...

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