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. Mary formed Morning Star in 1982 in the Bronx. Since then they have recorded several albums, and played at a variety of festivals across the USA. Morning Star is a stellar line up of gifted musicians. John Redmond on button accordion is the driving force in the band's joyous cascade of jigs and reels. He left Co Wexford with 4 All-Ireland titles, and for years has played with the finest musicians in New York City, in a variety of genres. One of the great box players of our day, with a bright and lively waterfall of sound, he is flawlessly melodic on tunes, subtle and sensitive in his backing of Mary's songs. Donie Ryan on tenor banjo is a key element in the high energy of Morning Star. Born and raised in Co Tipperary, now settled in Queens, he is an integral part of the New York trad scene, a rock solid player who is always note for note, with a deft and lyrical touch that blends perfectly with John's accordion and Mary's guitar. ' Mary Courtney is so much more than the most striking interpreter of songs on the Irish-American music scene - she is also it's conscience, a fearless beacon for feminism and progressive political causes. Whether working solo, with her band Morning Star, or guesting with Black 47 on such classics as Livin' in America, she never leaves a room without both moving and galvanizing the audience. ' Larry Kirwan - Irish playwright, author, musician, & broadcaster.