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Young Adult Fiction

Mobley's mighty music

By William Harries Graham, 3:47PM, Mon. Oct. 1, 2012

Mobley: Anthony Watkins (l) and Tim Shelburne
Mobley: Anthony Watkins (l) and Tim Shelburne

Mobley embodies the might of music. Their songs make you feel good, nostalgic. Their beats stay with you, they're energetic live, and they have stage flair. They're philanthropic, a model for emerging acts. A vitalizing force for making good on music. Last week, I chatted with Mobley's Anthony Watkins.

The band's name came to him in a dream, Watkins recalling that "Mobley" was the "last name of the first girl I ever had a crush on." He met musical partner Tim Shelburne in college and they've been playing together since. Watkins describes himself as "not a city person at all." Thus, Austin was the perfect fit, "nationally relevant without being too big city."

Mobley's new album comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 2, which is HAAM Day. It's called Young Adult Fiction, but it could be called Modern Torch. Watkins says the new songs are "unambiguously about love – lost or unrequited." Pre-sale proceeds of Young Adult Fiction went to Haiti Disaster Relief.

"When Mobley made its first record in Austin, Haiti was devastated by the 2010 earthquake,” explains Watkins. “Then, this year, the world's eyes were back on Haiti when it was hit by Hurricane Isaac. The same people displaced by the earthquake were still just barely beginning to get things back to where they were when Isaac touched down.

"The fact that it happened barely a month before our planned release felt like an undeniable sign, so we decided to do a tiny bit to help remind people about the suffering still going on down there."

On the future of the music industry:

"I think there are definite issues of value and accountability that must be addressed in terms of the way people consume media and the way that creators provide it to them. People will always find a way to make and listen to music. It's up to the makers to remind the listeners of the value we bring to their lives, and it's up to the listeners to help the makers we love continue making by giving them a viable way to earn a living at it."

Watkins played violin and trumpet as a kid, picked up guitar at 16, and soon began writing songs. Mobley's the only band he's ever been in.

His advice to aspiring teen musicians:

"Don't do it! Unless you're very, very, very sure that's what you want. More often than not, it's an unglamorous, trying, thankless way to spend your days. If you're going to do it, you owe it to your audience and to the musicians whose ecosystem you're crowding to give it an honest, full-throated shot.

“Anything less is a waste of everyone's time and energy."

Young Adult Fiction deserves a listen. And catch their genuinely exciting live performances on tour in October and here in Austin when they return in November.

Mobley is the right stuff.

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