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Southern Illinoisan

According to Wil Maring, we're fast approaching the ramen noodle soup month

December 22, 2005 by Marleen Shepherd

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - According to Wil Maring, we're fast approaching the ramen noodle soup month.

"It's when musicians eat ramen noodle soup 'cause it's all they can afford," said the voice of popular area band Shady Mix. "There are hardly any gigs."

Around the holidays and throughout winter, the great live music Southern Illinoisans take for granted the rest of the year gets a little harder to find. That's what makes Maring's Dec. 23 performance at Cobden's Yellowmoon Café all the more special.

"I would figure by the 23rd at least a lot of people would either have gotten most of it done and they're ready to sit back and be mellow or it's just so hectic that they need to take a break," said Maring of Makanda.

Maring, who launched a solo career this year in addition to staying with Shady Mix, will team up with various members of her band and a few other guests, including her sister and fellow vocalist Mila Maring and Kelley Sims, the original guitar player for Shady Mix.

Also joining in is Robert Bowlin, lead acoustic guitar and fiddler for Shady and a bluegrass veteran who's played with Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers, Kathy Mattea, Maura O' Connell and Tom T. Hall's road bands.

"We've never played together in this particular formation, so everything will be very spontaneous," Maring said. "It'll be a jam."

The group is planning to play a few fiddle favorites, a couple of cowboy croons and, of course, Christmas songs. Maring will bring out her jazzy rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and a few original holiday tunes including "Bucky's Present" and "Christmastime in My Hometown" featured on Maring's 1998 CD "An Ocean From Home."

Those looking for last-minute Christmas gifts can pick up all of the band's locally produced CDs including "Shady Mix Live" (2005), recorded at the Saline Creek Pioneer Village Bluegrass Festival in Harrisburg.

The disc represents a "wide spectrum of Shady Mix music, from Wil's originals, both old and new, to cowboy music such as 'Lonestar Swing' and 'Palomino Pal,' to Bill Monroe's bluegrass favorites like 'Kentucky Waltz' and 'Goodbye Old Pal,' to a blazing original instrumental from Robert …"

In between freelancing as a graphic artist, Maring is also working on a new CD, which she hopes to unveil in spring before embarking on an East Coast tour.



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