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The Wishing Tree - Ostara CD (album) cover


The Wishing Tree


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3.37 | 33 ratings

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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.

lazland | 4/5 |


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