Born in Hammond, Indiana, Vallillo's father was a civil engineer. And while his father's job meant that the family moved frequently, those frequent moves also meant exposure to a wide variety of people, places and musical styles. Inspired by the singing cowboys on television, Vallillo asked his parents for his first guitar, and thus began a lifelong love, and pursuit, of music. Growing up listening to the Beatles, Vallillo was also inspired by the sounds of Motown and by blues players such Mississippi John Hurt.
By the time he reached college, Vallillo had already found other like minded musicians and together they formed a bluegrass band. He eventually recorded his first album of original material in 1987, working with Alison Krauss and some of the musicians who went on to form her backing band, Union Station. Shortly thereafter, he became involved in radio, and spent several years hosting a syndicated program, "Rural Route 3," which featured country, bluegrass and American roots music, and allowed Vallillo an opportunity to perform as well.
Since then, Vallillo has continued to write and record his own songs. He continues to travel and perform, bringing his songs back to the people and places from which he drew inspiration in the first place. His rich voice possesses an honesty and integrity reflective of the heartland values that inform both his work and his life. An accomplished guitarist, Vallillo is also known for his inspired slide guitar work and for the extensive collection of vintage instruments which he uses to record.