Over twenty-five years and several well-used Toyota Siennas later, Wil Maring is still wearing out the Michelins, bringing her original folk/bluegrass/pop/roots music with warmth and humor to fans and friends from coast to coast. She still calls the road her home, even though her “stuff” lives in a 19th century log farmhouse in the hills of Southern Illinois, and it is from those rural roots and all that life in the rearview mirror, that her music has grown. After 8 solo and band CD releases, Wil has become a highly acclaimed songwriter, a winner of the prestigious Merlefest songwriting competition and a Kerrville NewFolk finalist. She has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and NPRs Whaddya Know program, in addition to touring extensively in Europe and Japan.
She began her career singing and playing several instruments as a solo act in college coffeehouses, then graduating to bluegrass and americana bands in the US, Japan, and then Germany. For the past 15 years Wil has been wearing out the vans, playing guitar and upright bass with multi-instrumentalist Robert Bowlin. As a duo, they have travelled coast to coast in the last decade, in Canada and the U.S, playing everywhere from the nation’s largest acoustic festivals to intimate house concerts. In the words of one music fan, “You will feel like family half-way into the first song.” Now a return to that intimacy, honesty and focus of a solo show sits on the horizon where the white lines converge…. and maybe new collaborations as well.
Wil juggles her music career with her other career as a professional artist, after having earned a BA in fine art, and an MA in Museum Studies. As the digital age has all but obliterated CD sales at concerts, she has been selling her original paintings, prints, and greeting cards at shows. She brings her paints and canvas to locations all over the US, and “kills two birds with one stone”, playing concerts, and painting, and bringing home new plein air paintings to add to her gallery.
As if that weren’t all enough to fill a calendar, she has been a sought after instructor for songwriting or guitar at some of the nation’s largest music camps, and has given songwriting classes and workshops across the nation. All these passions seem to support and balance out one another. In her own words, “ I can’t do music without the solice of my art, and I can’t do art, without hearing music in my head.”
“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.” Dave Higgs WPLN Nashville