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Alice Peacock And Friends Get "Lit" At Rock For Reading

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 13, 2010 4:00PM

Since 2003, Chicago-based country rock musician Alice Peacock and her non-profit, Rock for Reading, have been using music to raise awareness and money for literacy. It all started with one of Peacock's songs, "I'll Start With Me," a song about individuals making a decision to take action to make a difference. In conjunction with Camping and Education Foundation president Hugh Haller and rock photographer Paul Natkin, Peacock started the foundation to motivate and empower people to enrich their lives through reading.

By 2006, Rock for Reading had gained an impressive repertoire of support and partners that included LaSalle Bank, Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Public Library, and Chicago Public Schools. The foundation has now expanded beyond the stage with read-a-thons and book drives. Rock for Reading continues to broaden its reach in Chicago to promote literacy activism and involvement. To date, they've donated more than 574,000 books to Chicago area organizations and continue to raise money through benefit concerts.

For Saturday's benefit at Lincoln Hall, Peacock treated Rock for Reading supporters to an extended and charming set of her folk/pop tinged country ballads, interspersing her personal anecdotes that inspired the music with stage banter and audience toasts. Peacock covered a portion of songs from the recently released "Love Remains" (in which she collaborated with songwriting/production partner Danny Myrick) as well as tracks from what she calls her yet-to-be-named duo project with Myrick where the two combined for one handsome harmony after the next.

Peacock's intimate songs (reminiscent of a '90s-era Sheryl Crow at her most country) draw the most power from her voice that's at once strong and dreamy. Peacock and Myrick kept the mood light overall, even stopping mid-set to peruse the drink menu as audience members kept sending shots and beers to the stage.

During a pre-show reception, supporters browsed photos from Nakin's archive, with the majority of his shots--including photos of Jimi Hendrix, John Mellencamp and David Bowie--taken in Chicago music venues.

Reporting by Betsy Mikel and Kim Bellware