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Wishing Tree, The: Ostara

The Wishing Tree is a project by Steve Rothery (Marillion) and vocalist Hannah Stobart. This is not a Steve Rothery solo project and in fact Stobart shares the songwriting credits. Ostara is their second album with their debut released thirteen years ago. That is a long time to wait between albums and although I have not heard their first I am definitely glad to have discovered their sophomore effort.

I should point out first and foremost this is not anything like Marillion so if you were expecting another of their albums you may be in for a disappointment. The music is geared towards the lighter side of rock with most numbers in the slow to mid-tempo range. Ostara is both a showcase for Rothery's tasteful guitar and Stobart's lovely voice. Rothery shows great restraint that is just right for the context of this release. His subtle approach allows Stobart to really shine. That being said you should not shy away from this release as it is an excellent album and Rothery does offer the occasional solo and his sense of melody is never in question. On many of these songs his playing takes on different atmospheres and textures giving the music a dream-like quality that gets more addictive the more I play it.

There are no weak songs but some of my favourites include "Hollow Hills", "Seventh Sign" and "Falling" where there is a definite mid 70s sound and the playing is reminiscent of Heart of that era. At times Stobart's voice bears a subtle resemblance to Anne Wilson, and I say that in the most complimentary of ways. Pretty acoustic and electric guitar melodies and the occasional edgier solo really helps these songs stand out. Also of note is the lead solo in the live version of "Fly", a slow but pretty number with a great hook. There are other highlights but I will leave the rest for you to discover.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the beautiful artwork by Antonio Seijas and the album is well recorded, sounding very clear and crisp.

This is one of those albums that keeps getting better. If you are a fan of Rothery and appreciate female fronted mellow rock music in the vein of 70s era Heart, you will probably really like this album. Enjoy.

Track Listing:
1. Ostara
2. Easy
3. Hollow Hills
4. Seventh Sign
5. Falling
6. Fly
7. Kingfisher
8. Soldier
9. Fly Live (bonus track)
10. Ostara live (bonus track)

Added: January 16th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's MySpace Page
Hits: 1531
Language: english

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