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The Wishing Tree biography
This is Steve Rothery's (MARILLION) solo musical adventure recorded in '96 during a break in the action of MARILLION. The WISHING TREE features Steve Rottery on guitar and Hannah Stobart on vocals. Rounding out the line up is Paul Craddick on drums and Pete Trewavas (MARILLION) on bass. Rothery uses quite a lot of acoustic guitar which complements Stobarts voice very well especially in the ballads. The music has a neo progressive approach to the production but there is also a strong influence from English folk music which seems to come mostly from Stobarts voice and performance approach. "Carnival Of Souls" is a great recording and is highly recommended by this music lover.

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Carnival of SoulsCarnival of Souls
CD Baby 2006
Audio CD$34.54 (used)
Ostara By Wishing Tree (2009-03-23)Ostara By Wishing Tree (2009-03-23)
Just for Kicks
Audio CD$58.56
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THE WISHING TREE discography

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3.25 | 27 ratings
Carnival Of Souls
3.35 | 29 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Carnival Of Souls by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.25 | 27 ratings

Carnival Of Souls
The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars This one has Always been a favorite of mine. Paul Craddick (Enchant) has a tasteful, groovy, flowing but solid way of playing and Steven Rothery never sounded better.

Hannah Stobart is the kind of singer he needs, to really show his talent. Hogarth and Fish are all over the place in Marillion, and even screaming and singing through his solos. For Rothery-fans this is a must-have.

Stobart has a wonderful but sometimes a bit flat voice, not bad, but not outstanding either. The compositions are divided in two ways: the softer, more acoustic ballads (without drums and bass), and the more midetempo rockers. The latter are the really outstanding songs, with lots of dynamics, emotion and great guitarsolo's.

A very nice album, that probably nobody knows about.

 Ostara by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 29 ratings

The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This new release from Steve Rothery's The Wishing Tree side project sees him and collaborator Hannah Stobart - along with a selection of guest musicians which includes their two spouses - producing a pleasant acoustic folk rock album with mildly proggy, mildly gothy touches - a bit like an even more folk-focused incarnation of All About Eve. (Apparently, when Steve was originally considering an acoustic-themed side project he originally approached Julianne Regan of All About Eve but she wasn't interested.) If you're coming here expecting wild neo-prog guitar solos of the sort Rothery has made his trademark, you'll be disappointed, but Rothery and Stobart do a decent job of producing the type of music they've set out to create here, even if it doesn't really break much in the way of new ground.
 Carnival Of Souls by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.25 | 27 ratings

Carnival Of Souls
The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars "... too gently too remember"

The Wishing Tree is a side-project of Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery and vocalist Hannah Stobart. The group also features Pete Trewavas from Marillion on bass and Paul Craddick on drums. The discrete and sparse keyboards are shared by Rothery and Craddick. Given Rothery's leadership of the group, you might expect this to be a guitar-heavy album. But in reality Rothery's distinctive lead guitar rarely takes centre stage here and when it appears at all it often has a merely supportive role. Instead, the sound of The Wishing Tree relies heavily on acoustic guitars and Stobart's delightful vocals. The music of Carnival Of Souls is very gentle and soft and it stays far away from any kind of instrumental workouts that might be expected of a Marillion-offshoot.

In The Wishing Tree, Rothery stays firmly within conventional song structures and firmly outside Prog. What we get here though is a set of pleasant, well-written, mellow Pop/Rock songs with a slight folky nature, all excellently executed. The opening track is probably the closest we get to anything that might be labelled Prog related on this album and this is also the song with the strongest presence of electric guitar. Starfish is a cute little acoustic love song with a lovely vocal performance from Stobart. Sadly, the lyrics are too saccharine for my taste. Musically, the song might perhaps be compared to After You from Marillion's Seasons End album. But really only the purely acoustic parts of that song.

There is definitely an audience for this kind of music, but probably not so much among us who visit this site on a regular basis. People who are fond of female singer/songwriters might love this album, but fans of Rothery's daytime job or fans of Prog Rock in general are bound to find the music of The Wishing Tree undemanding and too conventional to be really interesting. If there is a distinction to be made between hearing music and listening to music, then the present album is one for hearing only.

It is clear that both love and skill went into this nice little album and Carnival Of Souls is indeed an enjoyable hearing. But it is also a wholly unchallenging one and can thus only be recommended to people who have with a special interest in folky Pop/Rock music as well as to Steve Rothery's most ardent followers.

 Ostara by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 29 ratings

The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I ordered this album to my library but it was mostly a waste. Not only it is rarely borrowed, I myself didn't much enjoy it. WISHING TREE is a side project of Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery teaming up with singer Hannah Stobart. Her voice is okay - though I wouldn't quite compare her to Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn - but the problem is, everything about this album is just okay, nothing more. I listened to it for a couple of times but there was absolutely nothing to get excited about. If I heard a track on the car radio I probably wouldn't pay much attention.

"Prog Related" is a big exaggeration. This is just harmless pop with supposedly some folkish feel and with nice guitar centred sound - naturally - but extremely forgettable when it comes to the song writing. Somehow it felt like American AOR. I know, I should have given it more listenings really, but in these matters I'm usually very remorseless: music has to make SOME (no matter how faint) impression in the first listening to gain more. Sorry.

 Carnival Of Souls by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.25 | 27 ratings

Carnival Of Souls
The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars After the disappointing (for me, of course, not for everybody) "Afraid of Sunlight", Steve Rothery picks up Pete Trewavas, a drummer and a vocalist for his first solo project. This may be the reason why AOS was so poor. He kept the best things for this one...

The vocalist, Hannah Stobart, has a limpid crystal voice. When I listened to her I made a comparison with Heather Findlay. Hannah is a bit higher in pitch and a bit less powerful than Heather but they are similar enough.

It's a good semi-acoustic album in which the guitar is not invasive, even if composed by a guitarist. It looks like he was more concentrated in giving space to the vocalist and the melodies. If Bryan Josh had done the same, probably Heather would still be in Mostly Autumn...

All the songs, except for the opening, are soft and melodic. The first is melodic, too but less soft.

Not a Marillion album, even if half of Marillion are here. I can also imagine Steve Hogarth singing instead of Hannah and he shouldn't be bad, but I think Steve Rothery has tried to keep a different direction that in mid 90's was not exactly the same of Marillion.

A good album then, but nothing more.

 Ostara by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 29 ratings

The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Thirteen years after their original collaboration on Carnival Of Souls, Marillion's Steve Rothery and Hannah Stobart have reunited for Ostara. It's a truly beautiful album and one of the more pleasant surprises of 2009.

Don't be expecting anything along the lines of Marillion though; in fact if it wasn't for the involvement of Rothery it's doubtful if this would have a place on Prog Archives. This album is simply all about the songs with no excess flash or baggage with Stobart's gorgeously pure voice taking centre stage. Rothery plays most of the instruments, though not drums which are played with subtle restraint by Paul Craddick. Rothery though happy to take a back seat plays with his usual understated and tasteful style with a mixture of acoustic and electric guitar, bass and some of the keyboard work too, the rest played by mike Hunter.

The songs are highly melodic and beautifully crafted light rock with some folk inflections. The album is pretty much one pace though with a laid back vibe but this works in its favour making it an ideal record to chill out too when you want something easy on the ears. It certainly wasn't a problem for me as Hannah Stobart weaves her vocal magic around the delicate melodies and graceful backing vocals are the icing on the cake, mainly handled by Stobart with some help from Jo Rothery. Steve Rothery adds the occasional guitar solo, always tastefully executed in keeping with overall vibe.

Ostara is a consistently strong album largely lacking any particular highs and lows though my own personal favourites are Easy, which reminds me of American alternative country rockers Hazeldine and Fly. Particularly impressive on Fly is the way Stobart weaves her voice around the haunting and lilting melody; truly lovely.

Ostara has turned out to be one of my favourite albums of 2009 and will certainly make my top 10. Hopefully I won't have to wait another 13 years for the next one.

 Ostara by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.35 | 29 ratings

The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the second Steve Rothery side project, and it is exceptionally enjoyable. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Rothery to treat this as a purely solo project and entirely dominate proceedings, but that is absolutely not the case with this album. All songs were co written with Hannah Stobart, who is a very talented vocalist and lyricist. The album also features Paul Craddick on drums, backing vocals by Jo Rothery, and keyboards by Mike Hunter (in addition to those recorded by Rothery). This feels like a band, and is all the better for it.

Stobart has a lovely ethereal quality to her voice, which first becomes very evident on Easy, which features some delicate and ghostly vocal harmonies.

Rothery excels himself, playing some fine acoustic guitars, and, it has to be said, bass guitar - as much as I admire and love Trewavas' playing, Rothery can also play very well, this being especially true of Fly which features a great bass line.

Some tracks, inevitably, have that Marillion feel, especially the beginning of Fly, but Stobart is as far away from Fish and Hogarth as it is possible to get, and this is by no means meant as a criticism. It is difficult to make comparisons with other artists with her voice, but a young Stevie Nicks does come to mind somewhat when listening to her.

When Rothery does let go with one of his trademark solos, he, as ever, makes the instrument sing. The middle of Fly has a gorgeous solo, before it settles in to Rothery being content to play a lovely backdrop to the vocals. Seventh Sign has a great bluesy feel to it, both with the earthy guitar and the vocals. You would also swear that Trewavas supplied the bass, it's that good.

Hollow Hills is the longest track at 6.21 minutes, and is a lovely melodic track, featuring mandolin and understated guitars again providing an understated backdrop to the vocals which are layered perfectly.

You really get in to the feel of the duo listening to the final track, Soldier, which features the acoustic guitar, played wonderfully, backing Stobart's story. An incredible ballad.

Kingfisher is very Celtic in its outlook, and the melody is fantastic, with a fine, albeit short, Rothery solo midway through.

This is a hugely enjoyable album. I downloaded it from the Marillion website for the mere sum of £5.99, and it is worth every penny.

It's very difficult to say who would enjoy this. Certainly fans, like myself, of Rothery's work with Marillion will lap this up, whilst also enjoying the distinct contrast between his band input and this, and I also believe that fans of bands such as Mostly Autumn (in their calmer moments), Karnataka, and the like, and also Fleeetwood Mac will gain a lot of satisfaction from this LP. Really, all visitors to the site who appreciate the more melodic brand of prog will find this very worthwhile.

I am going to give this four stars, although 4.5 in reality.

 Carnival Of Souls by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.25 | 27 ratings

Carnival Of Souls
The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by Forgotten Son

4 stars Having just heard the excellent news that The Wishing Tree will be releasing a new album early next year (demos of a couple of the songs destined for the new release can be found at, I thought it was high time I wrote a review for their first album, 1996's Carnival of Souls.

This is a solo (in all but name) project of Marillion's Steve Rothery, ably backed up by the beautiful Hannah Stobart (vocals) and Paul Craddick (drums and keyboards) as well as Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas (bass, of course). Steve Hogarth also features, providing the occasional backing vocal.

Released in between the two Marillion albums, Afraid of Sunlight and This Strange Engine, it is surprising how different this album sounds to either of the Marillion releases. Despite forecasting slight change in approach Rothery would take for his guitar parts on the following Marillion album (more on them in a future review) , this is a much folkier album (he cites Joni Mitchell as being a strong influence) than anything that Steve did with Marillion, also bringing in elements of Jazz, Blues and some Prog influences.

Despite being a significant departure from the general Marillion sound this album is still easily identifiable as a Steve Rothery effort, in fact we are reminded of that straight from the off with the haunting lead guitar in Evergreen, bringing to mind the guitar playing from tracks like That Time of the Night from the Marillion discography. In fact after the semi-familiar musical content of the first track, the second, Starfish, is quite a surprising departure, a sweet little ballad in a traditional English folk vein.

The rest of the album follows a very similar pattern, a rocky and/or proggy track followed immediately by a stripped down folk number, although Rothery manages to keep things compelling to the end, not least through his great lead breaks and lush arpeggios (Thunder in Tinsel Town is one of the most beautiful chord arpeggios he has ever written, which is saying quite a lot), but also through his introduction of Jazz (Midnight Snow) and Blues (Night of the Hunter) previously relatively unheard of in Marillion's music (said influences have since found their way into several Marillion compositions, but that's another story).

Hannah Stobart is a wonderful singer and plays a major part in bringing out another dimension in Rothery's playing. In fact this project bears a lot of resemblance to Ritchie Blackmore's folk project, Blackmore's Night, mainly due to Hannah's voice, which sounds like a combination of Candice Night and Kate Bush.

My problems with this album are that it's perhaps a little short, at just over 43 minutes I'm left wanting more. Also the lyrics are rather uninspired in places, particularly when we consider the two great lyricists Rothery has worked with in Marillion, though there are some reasonably strong lyrical performances like Starfish. I also think that Rothery was a tad too restrained in his guitar playing, one longs for him to really let loose like he has done on guest appearances such as his work on Arena's Crying For Help IV, though perhaps it's a good thing he held back as it may not have fitted in so well with the relaxed folky tracks that pepper the album.

This is an excellent solo album and, though not always strictly Prog, well worth a listen, not just for fans of Marillion but also fans of the previously mentioned Blackmore's Night or Mostly Autumn. 4 stars. An excellent addition to any Proggie's collection.

 Carnival Of Souls by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.25 | 27 ratings

Carnival Of Souls
The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars A Marillion solo album

The Wishing Tree, while nominally a band, is in reality a 1996 solo project by Steve Rothery of Marillion. "Carnival of souls" was initially released on his now defunct Dorian label, and despite good intentions, remains to date his only album under that name (although a handful of other releases by other artists appeared on the Dorian label before Rothery removed his rose coloured spectacles and realised the venture was destined only to be a money pit). Both the band name, and the album title are taken from obscure film titles.

Right from the start, it is immediately apparent that there is no danger of this being mistaken for a Marillion album, as the album features the female vocals of Hannah Stobart. Band mate Pete Trewavas plays bass, the line-up being completed by Paul Craddick on drums. John Helmer, who has also written with Marillion contributes some of the lyrics. Rothery has since revealed that the early albums by Joni Mitchell were very influential on him when writing for this album, especially on "Hall of memories" and "Fire bright". Once he finally got to work on the project, it still took a further two years for it to reach completion.

So to the music itself. While Rothery is very much the owner of the project, it is very different to his work with Marillion. The album is very vocal, with Rothery's guitar work filling out the sound rather than dominating it. Hannah Stobart has a very pure voice, giving the album a feel similar to that of Blackmore's Night, emphasised further by the many melancholy and folk influenced tracks. The opening track, "Evergreen" , written around the time of "Clutching at straws", sets the mood for the album nicely, with some excellent guitar work and a slow melodic atmosphere. "Nightwater", which originated around the time of Steve Hogarth arrival, is another highlight, although Steve Hogarth apparently felt is was too gothicfor his style. The song is reminiscent of Maggie Reilly's "To France" collaboration with Mike Oldfield, and has some interesting guitar effects.

Part of "Midnight snow" was originally proposed for "Holidays in Eden" but not included. It is a bluesier piece, with more Marillion like guitar work at times. Elsewhere, Rothery reverts to acoustic guitar on a regular basis. "Starfish" is a deceptively fragile song, with lyrics about "pulling legs of starfish one by one". "Night of the hunter" reminded me more of Heart around the time of "Dreamboat Annie", while "Empire of lies" reflects its title by being altogether darker and a bit heavier, with some good if all too brief instrumental work.

Rothery himself admits to some disappointment with the final mix of the album. Although he did the rough mixes himself, he was not confident enough in his own abilities at the time to undertake the final mixes. He says though that in respect he could have done a better job himself!

For me, the album is a bit too vocal, it would have been preferable if Rothery had used the opportunity to develop his excellent guitar work on the album more. For those interested in investigating the album, the yardstick of Blackmore's Night is a strong reference point.

In all, a highly melodic album, with some enjoyable if generally light folky and acoustically based music.

Rothery has been working on a follow up Wishing Tree album for some years now, around the time of "Anoraknophobia" he said it was "two thirds finished"!

 Carnival Of Souls by WISHING TREE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.25 | 27 ratings

Carnival Of Souls
The Wishing Tree Prog Related

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is Steve Rothery's (MARILLION) solo musical advernture recorded in '96 during a break in the action of MARILLION. I was really surprised by the meaty character of this recording and have found a lasting enduring realtionship with The WISHING TREE. Female vocalist Hannah Stobart has a sensational voice and is clearly a grand Accompaniment to Steve Rothery's tranquil acoustic touch. Listening to The WISHING TREE, one can not help but get a strong All About Eve feeling as compositionally they do seem to be from the same school. Rothery's guitar is sensational and musical companion Pete Trewavas adds some great bass in support of this project. "Carnival Of Souls" is full of soul and really seems to be a recordings which is easy to warm-up to and appreciate. I think it is important to recognize that this is not a MARILLION album and offers no parallel to their music. This is a great recording and is highly recommended by this music lover.
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