Chris Vallillo Performs: “Farmer is the Man, Songs from the Farm”

Farming has been the backbone of rural America and that heritage has been preserved in an extensive body of traditional and contemporary folk songs that tell the stories of the hardworking people who have struggled to live this way of life for generations. From traditional songs like “The Farmer is the Man,” to the dust bowl ballads of Woody Guthrie, to the works of contemporary songwriters, the subject of farm life has long been fertile ground for folk musicians. Award winning folklorist and songwriter Chris Vallillo performs a handpicked selection of the most poignant of these songs as way to look at the past and the future of the family farm at the DeKalb County History Center on Sunday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Chris Vallillo is a singer/songwriter and roots musician who makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song. Having spent the last 30 years in the rural Midwest, he has a natural affinity for American roots music. Performing on six-string and bottleneck slide guitars and harmonica, 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.” In 1987 he conducted the Schuyler Arts Folk Music Project to document the last of the pre-radio generation. 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 where he performed with a virtual who’s who of contemporary and traditional folk musicians. His show, Abraham Lincoln in Song, received the endorsement of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the accompanying CD reached #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart in March of 2008.

This program is presented in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” It is sponsored by a grant from the the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Illinois Humanities. For information additional information about this and other upcoming programs visit or call 815-895-5762. The DeKalb County History Center is located at 1730 N. Main Street in Sycamore.


May 19 2019


2:00 pm


Free/donations appreciated


DeKalb County History Center