Mad Agnes is not one person, but three, and they're mad in only the most inventive way. Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones and Mark Saunders stir up elements of classical and folk, cross singer/songwriter poignancy with street- theatre smarts and infuse it all with courageous harmonies, complex counterpoint and rich storytelling. Revenants, their third release, is a leap forward from their last, highly acclaimed CD, Magic Hour. Unlike the previous album, all the songs on Revenants were written since the band's inception. Together the collection presents an intimate scrapbook of the band's passages and triumphs. The song list represents all three members' contributions, including, for the first time, three instrumentals by Saunders (guitars, mandolin). Each member allows the others to influence the writing, both lyrically and musically. Jones's dark folk tale, "Black Crow," begins with a line from Hennebach's "Melting Snow," which appeared on Magic Hour. In "Make It Better," Hennebach offers a recipe for negotiating times of sadness, while Jones's "Chocolate" serves up sPUNgecake for dessert. "This album is more story-driven," Jones says. "It reflects a lot of changes for each of us, and the ways we've seen each other through them." Most of Revenants was written during the band's yearly writing retreats in Maine. The title comes from Jones's song, "A Place This Quiet," which commemorates the renewal of these New England pilgrimages. "This recording is special to us because it offers fans a glimpse into our private lives as songwriters." adds Hennebach. The album features guest artists, drummer Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull) and guitarist Jeff Pevar (Crosby, Stills, & Nash, CPR), and was mixed and mastered by four-time Emmy winner Jim Chapdelaine (Phoebe Snow, Big Al Anderson) in West Hartford, CT. As one presenter once introduced them, "The three of them make a great couple!"
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