Mary Courtney grew up in a musical family in the parish of Castlegregory, near the sea in County Kerry, a likely beginning for this remarkable singer and guitarist. Whether accompanying herself, or holding the rhythm line with her trad band, Morning Star, she is a consummate musician. Her music is an engaging collaboration of traditional Irish music and a progressive social conscience born of a political education in the United States. Her bodhrán (Irish hand-held drum) playing offers another dimension to her exceptional performance. Courtney has used her music to spread Irish culture and to educate her audience about the struggles of the Irish people. From rock ‘n’ roll to the ethereal strains of some ancient Celtic bard, Mary can sing anything, and sing it unforgettably.
Reviews … what a singer she is! Her powerful vocals are direct, allowing the beauty of the melodies and the emotion of the lyrics to come through; however her voice is also distinctive, making her stand out both from a sincerity point of view as well as a technical one. Frankly, she has a voice that is difficult to ignore… I’d almost forgotten what a dynamic instrument banjo is. Ryan brings that special melodic drive I’ve not heard for quite a while, as he pushes the tunes along with gusto, enthusiasm, and a lot of talent. As you listen, it’s no wonder Redmond has 4 All-Ireland titles under his belt. All this is built on Courtney’s excellent guitar accompaniment…. Sometimes, I’m amazed at how a small group such as this can have such a ‘big’ sound, one that is so involving and welcoming. Mary Courtney and Morning Star has risen to the top of my list of must-see musicians. When you listen to Live from the 33rd County you’ll understand why. Jamie O’Brien, Putting on Airs, Irish Edition