The Spring Standards on genre jumping, Fleetwood Mac, and SF pizza

Pub date October 1, 2012
WriterMia Sullivan

The Spring Standards kids grew up together on the Delaware/Pennsylvania border and got their start playing small folk festivals and around the campfire back in high school. After a break from their collaboration, Heather Robb, James Cleare, and James Smith found themselves in Brooklyn, inspired to pick up where they left off. They’ve been playing together as the Spring Standards for four years and released double EP yellow//gold last spring.

SFBG So I understand you’ve been on tour for the majority of the past few years. What’s that like?

HR It’s demanding. The hardest part about it is realizing where your regular life is, but luckily touring comes naturally to us. We love getting out, seeing the country, meeting new people, and having weird experiences. We’re still at that level of touring where, on any given night, we could be crashing with complete strangers, which always makes for some great adventure or strange story.

SFBG How would you describe your genre?

HR It’s rock and roll in the sense that it’s free and liberated expression – it’s loud sometimes and raucous and rowdy sometimes – but we also have really deep roots in folk music, Americana, and bluegrass. We’re accessing old school harmony-driven folk rock that was big in the ‘70s. And every so often we decide to totally jump to a different genre and play a heart-wrencher ballad that has nothing to do with rock and roll or a really loud White Stripes song that has nothing to do with folk music.

SFBG Do you try to channel any specific musicians?

HR I think we do sometimes for specific songs. There’s definitely a track off of gold that’s very Fleetwood Mac and in “So Simple So True” I really tried to channel Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Find the Cost of Freedom.” But, for the most part, I’d say we don’t. We have three songwriters, and I think we just sit down and try to follow what our hearts are telling us on a given day, which can really take us anywhere.

SFBG Can you explain the concept behind ‘yellow//gold’?

HR We hear a lot of different things from a lot of different people about what our sound is, but most consistently we hear that it’s all over the map, which we take as both constructive criticism and praise. The idea for yellow//gold came from wanting to have two opportunities to explore really different sides of our identity musically. We started with this idea of color because it felt intuitive, expressive, and not so limiting. Yellow’s more of the folk-based side of what we do, and gold is the rock-based side. We decided to release them together because they make the most sense when you look at them next to each other.

SFBG What excites you most about playing here in San Francisco?

HR We’re excited to follow up on our June show and love the whole San Francisco scene. And there was a pizza shop I was supposed to visit last time but didn’t get to, so I’ll be looking forward to that!

The Spring Standards
With Dylan Champagne, Ed & The Red Reds
Wed/3, 8pm, $8
Hotel Utah
500 Fourth St., SF
(415) 546-6300