Merissa Wilson
Gig Seeker Pro

Merissa Wilson

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Leaving These Hills"

On just about any homegrown performer’s debut recording effort, there is risk that songs might blend together and start sounding alike. Such is not the case with Merissa Wilson’s “Trading Dreams.” Here the variation is real and distinct—an especially impressive feat, considering that ten of the twelve cuts on the CD are originals.

Another common pitfall is when the young artist parrots, to too great of a degree, those who have inspired her; in Wilson’s case, that would be the likes of Nanci Griffith and Patty Griffin. While similarities to those artists can be heard, Wilson has her own voice. And though it is that voice that conveys the language, the words obviously originate in her heart.

Wilson’s singing and guitar playing are aided by a top-notch assemblage of back up musicians, whose name read like a who’s-who list of “valley-old-timers-meet-the-new-musical-blood”: from Beard to Batdorf, Cooke to Creamer, and Wilson to Winship.

One of my favorite songs on the CD is the bluegrass tinged “Worth the Dime.” It’s based on letters Wilson’s grandfather, Floyd Bagley, wrote to her grandmother, Vivian Call, when they were separated while attending different colleges in the early 1930s. Another is a hauntingly beautiful cover of Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather” with Wilson immersed in a melodic dialogue with Michael Batdorf.

Whether or not the juxtaposition was intentional, it’s interesting to note that the title song, “Trading Dreams” (‘Cause I’d gladly trade this dreams that I’m living/For the ones, with you in it), immediately follows “Come Home” (And in the shadow of the Grand/In this valley I will always stand). We can hope, selfishly perhaps, that Wilson someday will find a way to return, with her newfound love, to her lifelong soul mate—the far-western Wyoming landscape.

“Trading Dreams” is available at Big Hole Music, Dark Horse Books, and Yoga Tejas in Driggs. It’s also available online at

By Michael McCoy
- Teton Valley Magazine


Trading Dreams (2008)
Boots of Spanish Leather (Bob Dylan cover) was recently showcased Sirius Satellite Radio on the Disorder Channel Bob Dylan Hour (June 8, 2008)



Born at the base of the Teton Mountains, Merissa’s roots run deep in the land that reaches to her homesteading ancestors 5 generations back. She carries this tradition forward and writes songs that express the love she has for this unique mountain valley and the adventures it brings to her life.

Music was a major part of her upbringing, playing the piano and singing at every opportunity, but it wasn’t until after she left home that Merissa swapped out the piano for a guitar, and began playing folk music. She was content to play other people’s songs for several years, but leave it to a break up to push the emotions right out of her heart and into the lyrics and music of her first hit, I Was Happy. Although the songs that followed have all taken their time to evolve, she rarely has an experience anymore that she doesn’t think, “That would make a good song.”

Compared to musical icons such as Joan Baez and Nancy Griffith, and with major influences including Patty Griffin, Dar Williams, and Martha Scanlan, Merissa’s songs cover a broad range of genres such as folk, blue-grass, rock, and sometimes even a little spoken word. Manager Matt Lucia uses one word to describe her music, “Connected. Whether to a place, a person, or an experience, Merissa gives everyone the feeling of connection through her writing such that they can’t help but feel connected to these things themselves.”

Catch her solo for soul-soothing tunes or performing lively mountain melodies with other local musicians and family in the heart of the Tetons.