S3, E5 – The Music of Forgottonia: How Local Musician Chris Vallillo Captures the Sounds of the Rural Midwest

We are pleased to share our latest podcast interview with local musician, Chris Vallillo.  Chris is a singer/songwriter & folk musician who makes the people & places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song.  Chris is also a fantastic local historian as many of his songs reflect the unique rural Midwestern culture that we’ve come to know as Forgottonia. Chris has lived in the Macomb area for the past 35 years and often uses his music as an opportunity to both engage and educate his audience about the history and culture of the area.

CHS student Ashley Howerter interviews Chris Vallillo

You can learn more about Chris by visiting several of the resources below. As you will hear in the interview, Chris has been very active online–especially during the pandemic–and has loads of music online you can listen to. As I write this, Chris has a number of upcoming live performances to check out as things begin opening up. For instance, on Saturday June 12 Chris will perform his “Forgottonia Concert” at 6:30 pm at Hickory Grove Farm in Colchester, IL. So if you’re listening to this in time, you should really consider seeing him live in person. I promise you won’t regret it!

Chris doesn’t only talk about his music, of course, but you will get to hear some portions of his talents as well (Especially prepare yourself to hear his famous “Tennessee Tooth Crasher”, this was my favorite by far!)

Cuba High’s own Ashley Howerter does an awesome job conducting this interview. The essential questions she asks are:

  1. How does Chris’s style of music reflect the rural Midwest?
  2. How does Chris teach local history through his music?
  3. How has the pandemic impacted his ability to share his talents?  


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