Wil Maring

Wil Maring

 Cobden, Illinois, USA

After years of successfully performing in Europe, Wil Maring brings her highly acclaimed songwriting and soulful singing back to America. Her vivid lyrical imagery combined with her mesmerizing voice and the wizardry of Robert Bowlin’s musical accompaniment is an unforgettable listening experience.


As Wil Maring sat for long summer hours as a teenager at her family's roadside vegetable stand, picking out self-made tunes on her Sears guitar to pass the time, she never dreamed of the path she would one day follow. Wil has become a highly acclaimed songwriter, as a previous winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest and a 2007 Kerrville New Folk finalist. She has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with her original music, in addition to touring extensively in Europe and Japan. She spent almost 2 years playing in Japan with Japanese bluegrass bands, and honed her songwriting skills playing professionally for 10 years in Europe with her group Shady Mix who at the peak performed up to 140 shows a year.

Wil Maring and virtuose guitarist and fiddler Robert Bowlin have been recently combining talents to create beautiful original acoustic music. Robert Bowlin is a well respected Nashville session musician and artist in his own right, with his critically acclaimed cd release, Six String Soliloquy. Robert, a two-time National Fingerpicking and Flatpicking Guitar contest winner, has been a band member with legendary artists like Bill Monroe, Maura O Connell, Kathy Mattea, the Osborne Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Ray Price, Faron Young, and many more. Wil and Robert's collaboration results in a sound which straddles the fence between bluegrass, folk and country music, containing subtle hints of celtic, oldtime, and even pop and jazz music. The well-crafted songs, Wil's solid rhythm and fingerstyle guitar work, the clear, airy, expressive vocals add a unique, appealing sound to the music. Her songs paint pictures of the rural southern Illinois landscapes where she grew up, and delve deep into universal human emotions, evoking a nostaglic, introspective melancholy that delivers the listener to a comfortable, hopeful place. Wil’s music is a heartfelt music, not easy to categorize. The songs stand strongly by themselves, whether performed as a duo or with her entire band. Wil’s unique airy vocal style and heartfelt lyrics have raised the eyebrows of the acoustic music world in recent years with the release of her three solo cds, and four band cds, plus a new duo cd with Robert Bowlin.

As Dave Higgs, respected host of Nashville Public Radio's nationally syndicated bluegrass program describes the performance: "Wil Maring is one of those truly gifted musicians who writes as well as she sings. Her powerful songs have the ability to whisk the listener away to other lands, places and times. They're thought-provoking, compelling and always propelled by the perfect melody. And her gorgeous voice is capable of conveying a myriad of emotions. She can be sweet, playful, soulful and downright bluesy--sometimes all in the same song! Absolutely, hands-down some of the most mesmerizing, exciting, interesting and enjoyable acoustic music I have ever heard. Wil's songs are just in a league of their own, and the picking.... the interplay between (the musicians) is simply astonishing. Not clones -- but an inspired group with a different message. I love it!"
For more information on Wil Maring, visit http://www.wilmaring.com


"When you are finished reading this review, please, please go to her website and have a listen to her voice. I can’t even begin to describe what it is about it that attracts me so. Is it the easy back-porch alto, the slight twang, the way it just sounds real? Maring’s lovely vocals are surrounded by her Shady Mix bandmates as well as acoustic luminaries such as Stuart Duncan and Rob Ickes. The soft bluegrass arrangements are perfect for the contemporary rural themes of the songs. ......Whether you focus on the heartfelt poetry of the lyrics or the gently intricate playing, Maring and company welcome you to a very genuine place in the country. Essential!"
—Michael Devlin, Music Matters Reviews

I believe that I’ve found an American treasure; she’s that good, both as a writer and as a performer. Through repeated listenings, I haven’t found a single track that I wouldn’t play on the air....Wil Maring could be classified as bluegrass or folk but that wouldn’t give you a true picture of her breadth as a writer and performer. Well done Wil Maring, I am officially a fan.
--Steve Clarke of Acoustic Planet, CHES-Ontario, www.erinradio.ca

"This is the best stuff I've heard at TAXI since I can't remember when. The songs are beautifully written and memorable, the lyrical imagery is vivid and intense, the level of musicianship is stunning. Oh, and did I forget to mention the singing?! Well, the singing is pretty damn great too. I believe every word. I am forever under the singer's spell. Music of this caliber deserves to be celebrated. Superb. Can't wait to hear more."
- TAXI rep., the biggest independent A and R company

"Don’t get much better than this.... Nothing else to add except to urge you buy this excellent album."


Keeper of the Farm

Written By: Wil Maring

Keeper of the Farm

Red and golden on the farmhouse wall,
the sun shone in and showed a place
that I’d known all along...
A place that needed me, a place that I’d call home,
A place where I knew I belonged.

They came a hundred years ago to rest beneath this tree.
They built a home just like the home
they’d left across the sea.
Three generations, and now it’s come to me.
I am the keeper of the farm.

I am the keeper of the farm.
I am the holder of its history.
There’s nothing here to do
that can’t be done with two strong arms.
I am the keeper of the farm.
I am the keeper of the farm.

Weathered wood against a bright blue sky.
The whites just aren’t as white now
as they were in grandpa’s time.
But I have the power,
and I hope I still have time.
I am the keeper of the farm.


I never stop to wonder now why it’s up to me
to care for this museum from another family.
But tireless and faithful
since the day fate spoke to me,
I am the keeper of the farm.



Written By: Wil Maring


As a child I knew the bottomlands.
I knew it's fury in the spring.
I knew it's blazing heat in the summertime,
and autumn mallards on the wing.
And I knew the way to your house down an icy gravel road.
Yes, I knew the way to your house with my eyes closed...
As we walked along in the bottomlands
Where the corn grows eight feet high.
And the mud comes up between our toes,
And the sun beats down like it somehow knows
the fall's not far away.
We'll walk again in the bottomlands someday.

Like a midnight freight through the bottomlands,
on a track to God knows where,
I took a ride on a life that was just as fast
and I landed somehow here.
But the air here smells of gasoline
and I miss the cricket's song.
How was I to know that it would be so long?....
Til' we 'd walk again in the bottomlands
Where the corn grows eight feet high
And the mud comes up between our toes,
And the sun beats down like it somehow knows the fall's not far away.
We'll walk again in the bottomlands someday.

Now in dreams I go to the bottomlands
and I feel the August sun,
And I smell mown weeds in the ditches
and I hear the river run.
And I see you on the riverbank
and you turn to me and smile.
It's a dream that seems more real with every mile.
Til' we walk again in the bottomlands
Where the corn grows eight feet high
And the mud comes up between your toes,
And the sun beats down like it somehow knows
the fall's not far away.
We'll walk again in the bottomlands someday.

I imagine a home on a riverbluff
overlooking the fields of green,
where me and you, like we used to do,
will walk the levee once again.
But I'm still a little restless,
and there are still some dues to pay.
The wish will keep me working toward the day...
When we'll walk along in the bottomlands
Where the corn grows eight feet high
And the mud comes up between our toes,
And the sun beats down like it somehow knows
the fall's not far away.
We'll walk again in the bottomlands,
We'll walk again in the bottomlands,
We'll go marching through the bottomlands someday.

Arkansas Traveller

Written By: Wil Maring

Arkansas Traveller

He came to my door that winter day,
Looked to need a meal, so I said OK
For beans and bread and a place to stay
I could use an Arkansas traveller.

So he hauled the hay and he cut the wood
What I alone couldn’t, he always could
A life made easy, a life made good,
Grateful to an Arkansas traveller.

Eyes as blue as an autumn sky,
Heart so sad it could make you cry.
What are you seeking? Why’d you say goodbye?
The secrets of an Arkansas traveller.

The days, the weeks, the months, they passed
By day we’d work, and by night we’d laugh
He told me tales that would make me gasp,
and so I fell for the Arkansas traveller.

He’d sing me songs that would make me cry.
I told him secrets, deep inside.
Such strong affection could not hide.
How I loved the Arkansas traveller.


One moonlit night I won’t forget.
So quiet and distant, at supper he sat.
Left a note in my room that he’d be back.
It was time for my Arkansas traveller.

My tears have dried since he’s been gone.
I work my fields, and I work alone.
I make sure to leave the porchlight on
For the coming of the Arkansas traveller.


Flapping My Wings

Written By: Wil Maring

Flapping My Wings

I’m flapping my wings, getting ready to fly
I don’t know if you’ve noticed,
I’m fixin’ to say goodbye.
There’s a big, wide world out there
full of wonderful things.
I’m getting ready to fly, I’m flapping my wings.

I’m getting ready to roll, I’m greasing my wheels
I’ve been parked in your drive too long,
I need to see how it feels
to be out on my own,let the future unfold,
I’m greasing my wheels, getting ready to roll.
Don’t misunderstand me, Now don’t get me wrong
I know how you love me, I know where I belong
But I’m thinking it’s time for a songbird to sing
I’m getting ready to fly
I’m flapping my wings.
Instrumental break
I am not ungrateful
for all that you have done
You know that I love you
but it’s time to have some fun...
I’m flapping my wings, Looking up to the sky
I’ve practiced my landings, now I’m ready to fly.
If you wanna come with, You better pack your things,
I’m getting ready to go now,
I’m flapping my wings.
I want to soar higher than this, so blow me a kiss,
I’ve cut all the strings...
I’m flapping my wings.

Mississippi Lullaby

Written By: Wil Maring lyrics, W. Göhringer music

A barge upstream sounds his horn, Water lapping against the shore.
Cattle lowing in the distant east, I've come here to find my peace.
Whippoorwill calling in the night ,Rippling water in the pale moonlight..
A gentle breeze makes the maples sigh,
It's my Mississippi Lullaby.

Warm night, cool sand. I feel the river take my hand,
and lead me to a quiet place where I can lie and hide my face.
A dog barks far, far away, to chase the remnants of my day
to the other side of the evening sky,
It's my Mississippi lullaby.

Like a whisper of wind can carry a leaf,
The river can carry a fallen tree.
Oh, give me your strength to carry these boulders.
The weight of the world is on my shoulders.
Round and round the whirl pool flows.
I toss my sorrow and down it goes.
Oh mighty river I beg of thee,
Take my troubles to the sea

A song for the weary, a song for the wild, a song that I first heard as a child.
A song as old as the river's tide.
It's my Mississippi lullaby.

Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take.
Now I lay me down to cry. The river takes me bye and bye,
and leads me to a gentler time. It's my Mississippi lullaby.

Crickets drone in the warm, heavy air.A heart just as heavy is resting here.
Send a wish to the other shore
That tomorrow will be better than the day before.

So the current has taken all my fears,
But there's still one song I'd like to hear,
For a brand new day is on the rise.
It's my Mississippi lullaby, my Mississippi lullaby,
my Mississippi lullaby.


Written By: Wil Maring

I remember when I got the call. It was in the early fall.
The dusty fruits of summer on the vine.
Hotter than the devil’s best, But I knew I had to head west
To see a dear old friend one last time.

I left before the crack of dawn. Kept that chevy rolling on
The dotted lines were flowing 'neath my wheels
Didn’t even stop to rest- Following the sun I pressed
Closer toward the wounds I hoped to heal

It was out on the open road I began to unload
All the tears I’d been holding for you
It was like a waterfall, remembering it all
All the things I’d said and didn’t do.

Got there in the nick of time To sit there at your bedside
We held hands and talked all through the night
I told you what you needed to hear And I lent you my ear
So you could tell me what was on your mind.

You told me of the open road
And all the times you felt alone
And all the empty nights you’d tried to fill
It was like a waterfall
We cried for love long lost
But then you told me how you loved me still.

As the sun began to rise And you closed your eyes
I shut the door and stepped out in the hall
I settled in a field of peace, Finally at ease
I headed east as the rain began to fall.

Trailer on the Highway

Written By: Wil Maring

In the trailer on the highway, where our love first did grow
Do you remember in the winter how the cold winds did blow?
But it was warm there by the heater,
And it was warm in our hearts
in the trailer on the highway where our love first did spark.

In the trailer on the highway where our hearts first entwined.
How the windows they would rattle when the big trucks rolled by
And the racoons they would chatter
by the trash cans at night
but your love kept me safe as your arms held me tight.

At the trailer on the highway Love’s garden we grew.
you did the weeding and I watered.It was all that we knew.
Among the okra and tomatoes,
a strong bond so true,
at the trailer on the highway, Love’s garden we grew.

Oh the trailer on the highway, I remember so well.
And I wonder when I pass, Is this where new love birds dwell?
Holding fond recollections
from our home on the hill
Oh the trailer on the highway, Love’s lessons learned well.

Where the Ponies Run Free

Written By: Wil Maring

Where the Ponies Run Free

Long-suffering sadness in a liquid brown eye
I rake my hand across your ribs. I ask myself "why?"
Raise up your head, hey, come along with me.
I"m going to take you where the ponies run free.

Pick up your step now, through the mud and the mire
Come on, where's your spirit? Where is your fire?
Don't you remember how things used to be?
We're gonna go to where the ponies run free.

Where the ponies run free
There are no spurs or whips,
and the crystal clear waters run
right past your lips.
Red clover and fescue
grow high past your knees.
That's how it is, where the ponies run free.
So, here we are now, it was well worth the wait.
Leave the past all behind you, and your halter at the gate.
Kick up your heels now, and run for sheer glee
You're finally here, where the ponies run free.
Where the ponies run free
There are no spurs or whips,
and the crystal clear waters run
right past your lips.
Red clover and fescue
grow high past your knees.
You're finally home, where the ponies run free.
You can live out your days where the ponies run free.


Wil Maring: The Calling (Roan Pony Records)
Wil Maring/Robert Bowlin: self titled duo (Roan Pony Records)
Wil Maring: The Turning of a Century (Roan Pony Records)
Wil Maring: An Ocean from Home (Bear Family Records)
Shady Mix: Shady Mix Live (Roan Pony Records)
Shady Mix: Bottomlands (Bear Family Records)
Shady Mix: Songs of the Ranch and the Range (Snakehead Records)
Shady Mix: Made in the Shade (Roan Pony Records)
Summervilla-Work To Do: various artists compilation (Summervilla Records)
A Musical Celebration of Reverend Billy Graham; various artists compilation, (CMH Records)
A Tribute to a Mother's Love; various artists compilation,(CMH Records)
Cowgirls Tribute to George Strait compilation (CMH Records)

Set List

The live show includes a heavy emphasis on original music from the recordings, but depending on the venue and type of audience, can also mix in bluegrass and country standards, fiddle tunes, gypsy jazz, and cowboy and western swing music with the originals. It makes for a colorful show that has something for everyone. A typical set list would include most requested songs from Wil's 8 CD releases, such as Bottomlands, A Dance to the St. Anne's Reel, Keeper of the Farm, Mississippi Lullaby, mixed with public domain classics, fiddle tunes, guitar instrumental or a jazz version of Don't Fence Me In. Check out her YouTube channel for a taste of Wil's original tunes: http://www.youtube.com/wilmaring