b. Lillian Maring, c. 1965, Waterloo, Iowa, USA. Maring grew up in Makanda, Illinois. She began playing guitar and writing songs from an early age. With her musical partner Mark Stoffel (b. Munich, Germany; fiddle/mandolin), she founded the group Shady Mix for a 1989 gig in Carbondale, Illinois. Others in the early line-up were Kelley Sims (guitar) and Geoff Maring (bass). The band made some well-received albums: Made In The Shade (1991), Songs Of The Ranch And Range (1996), Bottomlands (1998), Shady Mix: Live (2005). Leading Shady Mix, Maring appeared throughout the USA as well as making trips to Japan and from 1992 Europe, attracting considerable acclaim in Germany. This led to a spell when Maring and Stoffel settled in Germany, forming a new version of Shady Mix with local musicians. In 2001, Maring and Stoffel returned to the USA where they gathered together some of the original Shady Mix members to form a new edition of the group.
Maring’s songwriting shows her interest in country music, bluegrass and folk forms from many lands (she has a master’s degree in anthropology), and her work demonstrates considerable variety in themes and the content of lyrics. In 1998, she was a winner of the Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at MerleFest in North Carolina. Her songs include ‘Black Snake Of The Sky’, ‘The Calling’, ‘Keeper Of The Farm’, ‘Going Down’, and ‘Window Seat’. Maring has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and in addition to her work with Stoffel and Shady Mix, she has appeared in concert with virtuoso guitarist and fiddler Robert Bowlin.