ACL Preview: Ralphs World
We’re excited to be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival (aka ACL) this year. As a part of our coverage, all week we’ll be bringing you profiles of the bands and artists that will grace the Festival’s 8 stages.
We caught up with Ralph Covert, the Chicago-based creator of Ralph’s World, who answered some questions for us. Ralph is no newbie to the music scene, and is, in fact, quite the Renaissance man. Not only is he an indie rocker and songwriter, but he’s also a playwright and children’s book author. Ralph is currently channeling his creative energy into “Ralph’s World: Time Machine Guitar,” a television pilot that combines music and history in a fanciful scenario wherein he and three puppet pals travel through time and space while both learning and playing music with true figures such as Ben Franklin and Beethoven. Ralph has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, ABS World News Tonight, the CBS Morning Show and the Sirius XM Kids Radio New Year’s Eve broadcast.
So how did one of the members of the top local band in Chicago in the 90s, The Bad Examples, become a children’s performer? After Ralph became a father, he was working at the Old Town School of Folk Music and agreed to take on some of the Wiggleworms toddler classes, with one rule — he wouldn’t change his music, although he might alter the lyrics. “That was a perfect situation for me as performer and writer- in seconds you’d know if your audience loved the song.”
You can catch Ralph’s World on Friday Oct 12 at 3:30 PM and Sunday Oct 14 at 4:05 PM on the HEB-Kids stage.
LiveMom: How would you describe your sound?
Ralph: One of the joys of making kids music is that I get to explore lots of genres and sounds. Ralph’s World music tends to be energetic and packed with lots of harmonies, rock and roll hooks, and fun, playful lyrics. But we do sometimes just call it “rock’n'roll for the whole family” since onstage we’re four guys doing the two guitars, bass, and drums configuration.
LiveMom: Who are your musical influences?
Ralph: My influences start with pop/rock music like The Beatles, but include everything from punk to surf to reggae to vaudeville to folk to musical theater, and I’ve enjoyed exploring those genres as well as others as I’ve made my ten Ralph’s World albums.
LiveMom: Is this your first ACL?
Ralph: No, I played ACL with Ralph’s World three or four years ago. It was a blast!
LiveMom: Have you been to Austin before?
Ralph: Numerous times. I’ve performed at SXSW twice playing my music from my indie rock band The Bad Examples, and attended without playing as well a number of times. I’ve also played Ralph’s World shows in town before. It’s one of my favorite cities!
LiveMom: Are there other things you plan to see and do while you are here?
Ralph: There are so many things to do in Austin one would need an extra week just for that. I’ll probably be tied up at ACL for most of my trip. There are so many bands to see, and I have a number of interviews to do as well. Oh, and of course my Ralph’s World shows on Friday and Sunday on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage!
LiveMom: What bands are you most looking forward to seeing perform at ACL?
Ralph: The Shins, Neil Young, Old 97′s, Wheeler Brothers
LiveMom: Are you doing any other shows while you are in town?
Ralph: Nothing planned right now, but I am playing a set on the Biscuit Brothers TV show to be aired later.
If you can’t make it to the Festival, you can keep in touch with the Ralph at http://www.ralphsworld.com, https://www.facebook.com/Ralphsworld, http://www.youtube.com/ralphsworldvideo, http://www.myspace.com/ralphcovert and https://twitter.com/RWRocks.