"As long as I can remember" — That's often the reply when people are asked how long they've loved something they are passionate about. The members of Lexington-based band All the Little Pieces could each echo this sentiment when it applies to music. But depending on which member you talk to, "as long as I can remember" has totally different meanings.
That's because the ages of All The Little Pieces' members vary greatly when you consider its guitarist is almost 50, its rhythm section is a couple of 20-somethings and its lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter hasn't started high school. But its multi-generational lineup and often eclectic take on modern rock is gaining an audience, and frontwoman Rhyan Sprague (age 13), bassist Billy P. Thomas (24), drummer Chris Jones (27) and guitarist Thomas P. Suggs (49) are all happy to be along for the ride.
"It's kind of funny. We call ourselves All The Little Pieces because we're so different and we bring different things to the table," Thomas says. "I wouldn't have it any other way as a band."
All the Little Pieces started when one member wanted to find the necessary pieces to live out a musical dream. Rhyan started out singing in church, but her first musical influences included Norah Jones and Cyndi Lauper. She began taking vocal and guitar lessons, and at 8, she had recorded her first original song. Her guitar teacher at the time, Demian Gover, forwarded it to Jones, who was a bandmate in the Lexington group Lot-13.
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When Rhyan was 11, she really wanted to get a real band together. Jones got the first call and was on board right away. She decided to put an ad on Craigslist to find the remaining members — with her parents' permission, of course.
"I know that sounds scary, but there was a screening process," she says, laughing.
Via email, Rhyan and her parents corresponded with potential bandmates, who then came by to audition. A few were taken aback by her age, at least before she began to sing.
"There were definitely some skeptical people that we auditioned," Jones says.
"When I initially got the email from (Rhyan's mother, Toni Karpinski), she said, 'She is significantly underage,'" Thomas says. "When we got together and played music, I was like, 'Holy crap, she might be the real deal.'"
All the Little Pieces started off as a cover band before Rhyan began presenting her demos to the band members, who helped turn them into original songs. When performing at the LexJam open-mic shows at Natasha's Bistro and Bar, they played with Thomas Suggs, who joined the band when its original guitarist departed.
"I thought what they were doing meshed pretty well with what I wanted to do in my own head," Suggs says. "It wasn't really an issue for me how old anybody was. I didn't think about that. I just listened to what they played and how they played, and that sold me on it."
With the current lineup, All the Little Pieces released its debut album, If You Fall, in 2013 and have played shows in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio. The first album was delightfully schizophrenic, using a foundation of alternative rock to hopscotch to elements of country, blues, Americana and jazz from track to track. Now, with the release of the band's second album, Broken Little Soul, All the Little Pieces has gelled even more and is finding a signature sound, and Rhyan is crafting lyrics that are less abstract, more personal and take on emotions.
"I'm 13, so obviously, I'm not writing about love. That wouldn't be real and it would be real weird to do that," she says. "I think as I'm getting older, I'm dealing with more stuff as a teenager and I think I can channel that into my music. I think with that, it became more personal."
After playing an album-release show at Willie's Locally Known last weekend, All the Little Pieces will play its second-album release show this weekend, an all-ages show at 8 p.m. Saturday at Buster's. The band will continue its goal to be one of Lexington's premier acts and expand its popularity beyond the Bluegrass, but everyone involved agrees that it couldn't have a more interesting band dynamic — or a better one.
"There was never really a sound or style we were going for," Jones says. "We just played the way we played, and it fell into place. I think it's been a steady progression with dedication, rehearsal, and, ultimately, we are a family and that's what's made it so strong. It's been an incredible experience."