“Western Illinois got the name “Forgottonia” in 1972 when Jack Horn, John Armstrong, and Neil Gamm declared the creation of the independent nation of Forgottonia in protest of the lack of tax dollars returning to the region. The plan was to secede from the Union, declare war on the United States, immediately surrender, and then apply for foreign aid. To everyone’s surprise, the story was picked up by the national media and it worked! I first came to this region in 1976 as an archaeologist on the first wave of funding to come in…it was like stepping back in time 40 years. This project is my latest attempt to capture the last echos of Forgottonia as it slowly fades away." Chris Vallillo
Award winning Songwriter/Roots musician Chris Vallillo pays homage to the rural Midwest with his new recording Forgottonia inspired by the people and places of America’s heartland. Vallillo, a multi-instrumentalist who performs masterful fingerstyle and slide guitar, digs into the roots of rural music with a respect for the tradition that doesn’t feel stuck in the past. Perhaps the archaeology degree Vallillo earned helped him see the important little details of life which imbue his songs with a sense of history.
Forgottonia features 7 songs and 5 instrumentals that range from the wistful title song that captures quintessential small town America, to the swampy feel of a late night moonshine run in When Whiskey Had Wheels, to the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired instrumental Flower in A Crannied Wall. Vallillo tips his hat to Iowa guitar slinger Bo Ramsey with the King of Iowa, and tugs at the heartstrings with the song Carry On, written about walking a parent down that last path of life.
Joining on the project are jazz mandolin master Don Stiernberg (Jethro Burns Trio), Grammy nominated percussionist Rocky Maffit, and Illinois Cajun Fiddle master Dennis Stroughmatt.
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