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The Wishing Tree

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The Wishing Tree Carnival of Souls album cover
3.26 | 35 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Evergreen (5:52)
2. Starfish (3:08)
3. Nightwater (4:23)
4. Hall of Memories (4:10)
5. Midnight Snow (6:01)
6. Night of the Hunter (3:58)
7. Fire Bright (3:06)
8. Thunder in Tinseltown (4:34)
9. Empire of Lies (5:32)
10. The Dance (2:57)

Total Time 43:41

Bonus tracks on 2000 Enhanced CD:
- Video: Live Italian TV
11. Hall of Memories
12. Starfish
- Audio
13. Man the Hunter (demo)
14. She Moves Through the Fair (demo)

Line-up / Musicians

- Hannah Stobart / lead vocals
- Steve Rothery / guitar, keyboards, composer & producer

- Jo Rothery / backing vocals
- Pete Trewavas / bass
- Paul Craddick / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Vivid Images Interactive

CD Dorian Music ‎- DM WT 001 (1996, UK)
CD Racket Records ‎- Racket 14 (2000, UK) With 2 bonus Demo tracks plus 2 Live videos, new cover

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE WISHING TREE Carnival of Souls Music

THE WISHING TREE Carnival of Souls ratings distribution

(35 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE WISHING TREE Carnival of Souls reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
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.
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 his only album to date 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 release, 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 quite 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 gothic for 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 off 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"!

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.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The Wishing Tree was basically a one album project of Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery. He primarily intended to showcase his guitar skills and Hannah Stobart's beautiful vocals. Hannah Stobart appears to be the focal point of this album, and she does have a lovely voice. Folk influence is mad ... (read more)

Report this review (#2651277) | Posted by Mspy1 | Saturday, December 11, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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, an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1635772) | Posted by Kingsnake | Wednesday, October 26, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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 Carn ... (read more)

Report this review (#89149) | Posted by Forgotten Son | Thursday, September 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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