On Music: The Wishing Tree echoes European folk, Americana

March 17, 2010

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Brainchild of prog rock guitarist Steve Rothery (Marillion) and vocalist Hanaah Stobart,The Wishing Tree has been delivering a electric brand of folk-pop since the mid-1990s. After finally releasing Carnival of Souls in 1999, the group was somewhat shelved, transforming into a Rothery/Stobart songwriting partnership.

More than 10 years later, The Wising Tree is back with Ostara, a journeyed project conceived in California and England. Lyrically charged with melodic rock and folk overtones, Ostara flirts with European electric folk and Americana, and classic vocality that slightly echoes Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. Stobart, however, finds a comfortable middle ground to carve a unique individuality.

Intrumentally, Rothery’s guitar, keyboards and bass chops shine, speaking loudly of a Carlos Santa, Sting—even a Ray Manzarek influence—creating an edgy greatness not captured since Mathbox Twenty’s Yourself or Someone Like You delivered its deafening blow to the Seattle grunge movement. Backbeats are solid, while melodies are as strong as anything out there.

Released last March, the eight-track Ostara is still organic as well as timeless.

W.A.S.P. on tour in America

Blackie Lawless and his latest incarnation of W.A.S.P. are galloping through America supporting Babylon, the hard-hitting 14th studio release that continues to prove Lawless has a stronghold on artistic rock and roll. At press time, the band was finishing a Florida leg before heading west to Arizona, Nevada and California. The tour wraps after eight South American dates.

Mana Kintorso’s ‘Pot o’ Gold’ a new St. Patty’s tradition

Indie band Mana Kintorso has a fever. The only cure is more upbeat St. Patty’s Day songs. In fact, “Pot o’ Gold” may be, aside from Dropkick Murphys’ “Kiss Me, I’m S—faced,” one of the best Irish ditties recorded in years.

Listen to “Pot o’ Gold” at manakintorso.com and myspace.com/manakintorso. The “Pot o’ Gold” video, shot at Brio during the club’s 2009 St. Patrick’s Day party, is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VWeCpjIymg.

From the March 17-23, 2010 issue

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