Festivals and Concerts
“Fine performances featuring… unadorned music that speaks volumes about the reality of living in the rural Midwest”
-Barry Cloyd, Arts Alive!-
Chris Vallillo is an outstanding roots musician, performer and raconteur who has toured the Midwest for the past 30 years. Dirty Linen magazine described his music as “vivid, original story songs” delivered with an “eye for detail and a sense of history” while Folkwax magazine said “Vallillo’s guitar playing flows like warm honey and is a true aural delight.”
Having spent over 30 years living in the rural Midwest, Chris Vallillo’s natural affinity for American roots music brings the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America to life in a concert setting. Performing in a roots based style on six string and bottleneck slide guitars and harmonica, Vallillo weaves original, contemporary and traditional folk songs and instrumentals into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyle of the Midwest.
House Concert Availabilities
With the release of his latest recording, The Last Day of Winter, Chris is offering to play shows in the living rooms or backyards of the fans who have been so true over the years. Imagine a one hour (or more) show with Chris on your couch or at your dining room table or in your backyard, playing in honor of your birthday or anniversary, or for your daughter’s “off to college” party (or whatever) performing your favorite songs from a long list he’s recorded and/or performed over the years.
To keep the costs at a minimum, Chris can travel with his own PA system (so, no rental costs for you!). If the event is a little more intimate, he can sing and play without amplification. While he’ll consider any reasonable offer, but please keep in mind that this is his livelihood – so he needs to make SOMEthing! He would ask that the weekend days and nights be a little more money, and that travel expenses (flight, hotel and car rental, if applicable) be extra costs for you, included in your total price. He drives most places – doesn’t fly first class, or stay in expensive hotels, etc., so can travel cheaply!
You can charge admission to the event, but he would ask that it be by invitation — for you and your friends only. If everyone chipped in, ultimately, your cost would be nil.
If hosting a Chris Vallillo House Concert interests you, please contact me: email@example.com (309-833-4838) and we’ll kick around the options!
In addition to concert and festival performances, Chris has a number of specialized programs:
Stephen Foster and the Rise of Popular Music
Description: From his first hit with “Oh Susannah” in 1848 through his death in 1864, Stephen Foster created music that touched millions and lives and live on to this very day. In his lifetime, his songs were known and sung around the world and played a large part in the creation of an emerging popular American culture. Looking back, they also reflect the complex, torturous relationship between black and white cultures of the young nation.
Award winning folksinger and songwriter Chris Vallillo presents the music of Stephen Foster and explores the impact of this legendary American icon and his music on American culture.
Abraham Lincoln in Song
Endorsed by the Illinois Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
The life of Abraham Lincoln spanned a period of change, growth and struggle in our young nation, and the music of his era movingly characterizes these remarkable times. From his days as a flat-boater, through his time at New Salem, his years as a circuit lawyer and on up through his presidency, Lincoln’s life is a microcosm of the development of Illinois during that period.
Abraham Lincoln in Song helps shed light on one of history’s most beloved figures “not only as a remarkable leader, but as a man,” who knew and loved many of these very songs himself. Special emphasis is placed on showing Lincoln ‘s unique bond with the common man and his desire for reconciliation, not revenge. It is an extensively researched, historically accurate program Chris uses period music Lincoln may well have known and sung, and Lincoln ‘s own stories to illustrate his life and put it into context.
The show is designed to be an interactive, accessible, program that educates as well as entertains. It covers Lincoln ‘s life from his birth on the big south fork of Nolan’s Creek in Kentucky in 1809 through his death in 1865. It has been performed in association with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, The Gerald R.Ford Presidential Museum, The Lincoln Home National Historic site, Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum and various touring exhibits including Forever Free from the Huntington Library and “Lincoln, the Constitution and the Civil War” from the Library of Congress and the American Library Association. Abraham Lincoln in Song has recently been endorsed by the Illinois Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The show works well for both school audiences (grade 3 and up) and adult audiences.
Parallel Paths; The Poetry of Carl Sandburg, the Music of Chris Vallillo
In a program created for the 2012 Carl Sandburg Days Festival, Chris Vallillo presents a combination Sandburg’s poetry paired with his original songs and instrumentals as well as several of the songs Sandburg himself collected as a folklorist.
Vallillo’s work has long been compared to that of Sandburg. He has been described as “Illinois’ pre-eminent prairie-poet singer-songwriter” and is well known for incorporating original and traditional material to make the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life. Much as Sandburg himself, Vallillo spent several years collecting and documenting the music of rural Illinois, much of which influenced his own work.
Vallillo’s performance will pair his original music and traditional songs Sandburg collected with poems Sandburg wrote. “For years people have been telling me my work reminded them of Sandburg’s poetry. When I began to explore the possibilities, I was struck by just how powerful the combination was.”
Roots of of Rural Music
Illinois is unique among all the states in that its access to the major waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois Rivers as well as the Great Lakes made it a virtual crossroads of peoples, cultures and ideas. As railroads surpassed the rivers as a means of transportation, Illinois would become the Central hub for the nation’s rails. This mingling of people produced a rich body of roots music which paints a colorful portrait of our heritage and gives detailed insight into the people and times that forged the state we have become.
Chris draws on his experiences as a music collector and performer of the songs of rural America; from the first pioneers through the era of Steamboats, trains and early radio. Vallillo brings this rich heritage to life in a lively performance and discussion of roots music and its impact on our lives today while performing on a fine collection of vintage instruments.
Folk Music For Little Folks
In this engaging and entertaining performance, Vallillo presents a folk musical performance geared towards younger audiences. Chris introduces and discusses traditional Illinois folk music and performs on the guitar, resonator slide guitar, Jew’s Harp and an 1880′s hammered dulcimer. Educational, interactive and fun!