Chris Vallillo

Abraham Lincoln in Song

Chris Vallillo, a Midwestern folk singer and guitarist, recently toured with a show featuring these tunes, mostly from Abraham Lincoln’s time. “El-A-Noy” is a surrealistic ode to the imagined pleasures of Lincoln’s adopted state. “Aura Lee,” a.k.a. “Love Me Tender,” was one of the most popular love songs of the era, played on chiming acoustic guitar with rippling mandolin accompaniment. “Lincoln and Liberty” was Lincoln’s campaign song in 1860, a patriotic ode set to the tune of the Irish “Rosin the Bow.” Bob Gibson’s “Let the Band Play Dixie” is a moving song about the last day of the Civil War. In his usual magnanimous manner, Lincoln asked the band to play “Dixie” in tribute to the Southern dead. Vallillo tends to oversing, but crisp playing and these timeless songs make this one worth a listen.