Concert preview: Trio brings on the folk


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The Spring Standards started singing together while they were still in high school, around 1999, united in their affection for the Beatles, James Taylor, CSN -- aka their parents' music.

After going their separate ways, Heather Robb, James Cleare and James Smith -- all from the Philadelphia/Wilmington, Del. area -- ended up living within blocks of each other in Brooklyn and hooked up again in 2008 to form the trio.

Ms. Robb had been a theater major at Syracuse University and was ready to bring some of that stage experience to the band.

The Spring Standards

With: You Won't, Aaron "The Uke Slinger" Jones.

Where: Club Cafe, South Side.

When: 9 tonight.

Tickets: $10-$12; www.clubcafelive.com.


"When I moved to New York after college," she says, "it was to pursue a career as an actress. You spend a lot of time waiting for opportunities in that career, and music quickly became an essential creative outlet for me. Once I reconnected with James and James, the decision to start playing out again felt like the most natural thing in the world.

"Playing live music is very different than performing in live theater," she adds. "I think where they overlap most is that both pursuits rely on putting a great deal of trust in oneself."

The folk trio got early validation from Old '97s frontman Rhett Miller, who produced its debut EP, "No One Will Know," in 2008.

"We're so lucky to know Rhett," Ms. Robb says. "He was a very early supporter of the band. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and he ended up co-producing our first EP. He has remained a great friend over the years, and we've learned so much from him. He's as good as it gets."

The band, which sports three-part harmonies and splits a drum kit among the members, has since released two more albums, toured the country and performed on "Conan" and "Mountain Stage."

Pittsburghers may remember the band from opening for The Clarks at Station Square in 2010 or from the more intimate gigs at Club Cafe, where it plays Saturday. The band is touring on "yellow/gold," which features a single "Here We Go," that strays from its folkier style.

"We really set out to create a pop song," Ms. Robb says. "It was a lot of fun experimenting with new sounds and techniques to capture the frenetic energy of a new romance."

Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com; 412-263-2576. Twitter: @scottmervis_pg.


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