Type of Entertainment: Music/Vocal, Specialty, Folk, History   Rating: Everyone

Chris Vallillo


Singer-songwriter Chris Vallillo entertains audiences wherever he plays with music that portrays the joys and sorrows, ups and downs of Midwestern life.

In a variety of roots-based styles, Chris performs on six-string and bottleneck slide guitars, harmonica, and pocket instruments. His shows incorporate original and traditional material with the works of other contemporary songwriters to form a musical portrait of the history and lifestyle of the Midwest.

Vallillo's Prairie poet style has been compared to Edgar Lee Masters and Vachel Lindsay. Reviewers have also described him as an exceptional guitarist who speaks from the heart of rural Illinois. Dirty Linen magazine had this to say: "He brings to his music (an) eye for detail and a sense of history... Vivid original story songs delivered in his crisp, expressive tenor."

A graduate of Beloit College with a BA in Anthropology, Chris spend his first few years out of school as a professional archaeologist working throughout the Midwest. After settling in western Illinois, he began seriously pursuing music, writing and performing with a variety of bands before beginning his career as a soloist. 

For Chris, a good song is as much a work of art as any painting or sculpture. His music has a timeless quality about it, with one foot in the past and one foot in the future. He combines traditional and modern styles of finger picking, bottleneck slide and flat picking to paint pictures using words, tone and rhythm - pictures of a community coming together to help a family in need, a childhood baseball game, or a storm rising on the prairie.

A recipient of a 1986 Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award for music composition, Chris was also a nominee for the Illinois Arts Council's 1987 Governor's Award for Individual Artist. From 1990 through 1998 he served as the performing host and co-producer of the nationally distributed, award-winning public radio performance series Rural Route 3.

Chris Vallillo is a member of the Illinois Arts Council's Artstour Roster, the Illinois Arts Council’s Artists in Education program, the Illinois Humanities Council's Road Scholars program, and the Heartland Fund's Community Connections program. Each of these prestigious programs provides funding assistance for the presentation of talented professional artists to audiences throughout the Midwest. Click on the program name to get more information. 


Illinois Farm Bureau Partners. 2003. "Just Plain Folk."

Illinois Times. 2007. "Surviving on the Lonesome Prairie."

wttw11. 2006. "Fine Midwestern Folk."


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