Chris Vallillo is a singer/songwriter and folk musician who makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song. Having spent the last 35 years in the rural Midwest, he has a natural affinity for American roots music. Performing on six-string and bottleneck slide guitars and vocals, Vallillo weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs and narratives into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyles of the Midwest. Dirty Linen magazine described the music as, “vivid, original story songs” delivered with an “eye for detail and a sense of history” while Folk Wax Magazine Editor, Arthur Wood said “Vallillo’s guitar playing flows like warm honey and is a true aural delight.”
Vallillo’s music has a timeless quality about it, with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. Perhaps the archaeology degree Vallillo earned at Beloit College (BA Anthropology, 1976) helped him see the important little details of life which imbue his songs with a sense of history. His prairie poet style has been compared to Edgar Lee Masters and Vachel Lindsay and you can hear the strains of the Carter Family and Jimmy Rogers reflected in his writing. It’s roots based original and contemporary folk with the rich acoustic textures of bottleneck slide, finger style and flatpicked guitars that echo the influences of Mississippi John Hurt, Norman Blake, Doc Watson and John Fahey.
Chris is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award for music composition and has been nominated for the Illinois Arts Council’s Governor’s Award for Individual Artist. Early in his career, he conducted the Schuyler Arts Folk Music Project documenting the last music of the pre-radio generation – work later accepted into the American Folklife Collection at the Library of Congress.