Morning Star,
(self-produced, 1999)

There are albums that are fine examples of their genre without standing out as exceptional specimens.

Morning Star's Grá is like that. I can't fault anything about this traditional Celtic recording, and yet I can't say it's overly memorable, either. Every time I've slipped the disc into my stereo, I've found myself enjoying the music. It's pleasant. Sometimes I sing along. The tunes, too, are admirably executed by this New York-based Irish band.

But, to be honest, the album didn't really inspire me to put it back in the stereo too often. It's good but not great, lacking the kind of punch I desire for repeated listenings. Oh, and the way they run the lines together on "The Queen of All Argyll" is just annoying.

Morning Star is Mary Courtney on vocals, guitar and bodhran, Margie Mulvihill on tin whistle and flute, and John Reynolds on violin, viola and mandolin. Guest musicians are John Nolan on button accordion and Ronnie D'Addario on bodhran. The band's subsequent album Away Ye Go Now! (see separate review) is stronger overall -- a sure sign that Morning Star is moving in the right direction.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 25 May 2002

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