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Kid Rock

Tot-rocker piles on the riffs, not the sacharine.

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Ralph Covert plays kids’ music unlike any you’ve ever heard. There are no cloying rhymes in his songs, and he doesn’t play grown-up tunes that adults think children might like. Covert -- who performs as Ralph’s World with a full rock and roll band -- makes plugged-in music that kids and their parents can unabashedly shake their heads to. “There’s not much difference between writing for kids and adults,” he says. “You just need to tie into the needs and emotions of your audience.”

Covert is a member of Chicago’s Bad Examples, one of the city’s most popular power-pop bar bands. About a decade ago, when his daughter was a toddler, Covert taught a music program designed for little ones. “The first time I did it was the first time I had stage fright in 20 years,” he laughs. Covert still sings and plays guitar in the Bad Examples, but his morning and afternoon tot-rock gigs -- which include a solid repertoire of songs like “All I Want to Do Is Play” and “Riding With No Hands” -- is the bigger hit. “I come in smelling like a barroom [from the night before] sometimes,” he says. “This is just a natural extension of what I do.”
Sat., March 10, 10 a.m.

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