Local favorite Little League Hero re-unites with songs old and new

Little League Hero
8 p.m. Thursday
The 51st Street Speakeasy
1114 N.W. 51st

Little League Hero’s Kyle Caldwell admits he might be little bit out of touch with the area’s music scene.

Since the band disbanded in January 2008, he said that while he’s noticed some changes among venues and crowds, it’s been only from afar.

“I’ve been a little reclusive for the past couple of years,” he said. “I really haven’t gone out. I’ve been sitting at home, sharpening my little music knife.”

Formed in Stillwater in 1998, Little League Hero is the latest in a string of decade-old area acts to uncall it quits. A reunion, however, for nostalgia’s sake or otherwise, isn’t quite what Caldwell originally had in mind.

“Little League Hero had been broken up for a couple of years. I wanted to start a new band, with new songs. I wanted it to not be called Little League Hero,” he said.

However, word of jam sessions with former bandmates Justin Barnes, Dewayne Henagar and Jerry Christian(better known as “Red”) ignited a quiet buzz and, after being offered a handful of shows as Little League Hero, decided to take the bait.

“I just thought, ‘OK, that’s fine,’ because I do miss it. The songs are a little dated at this point, though,” Caldwell said. “I’m still looking forward to writing new stuff and moving on, but for now, we’re doing what people know.”

What people know is the group’s signature ambient-rock sound, often characterized by complex guitar riffs, although the man behind those riffs has changed. “The last few months, we’ve been getting (new guitarist) Rodney (Rozell) into the fold, and we’re learning our old songs again, which has been weird,” Caldwell said.

“The sets we play now are primarily the old stuff that everybody knows. We’re stuck in 2004 again, just to play catch-up, but we’re definitely all about moving forward. The fun part is writing new songs and discovering who we are now as a band, which I’m excited about. I think it’s fun to reveal yourself to yourself. I mean, it’ll be similar, because it’s mostly the same guys, but we’ve definitely all
grown up a little bit.”

A recent warm-up show at Belle Isle Brewery renewed that sentiment, as Little League fans both old and new enthusiastically turned out in droves. “People I’d seen before at our shows were there and loved it, and new people I’d never met came up after the show and said that it affected them,” Caldwell said.

“It’s strange when that happens, because you have to lower a defense, but it’s awesome. There has never been a show where the vibe in the room afterward
wasn’t fantastic ” everybody giving hugs and being jolly, or being inebriated and jolly ” whatever it has to be. If people have a good time and listen with their ears cocked just the right way, we might reach them, you know?”

Becky Carman

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