In Jasper Vol. 3, No. 4: Record Reviews - The Mobros' Walking With a Different Stride

"Like so many other things worth writing about, I first heard about the Mobros in a bar. After consuming many beers, an older gentleman started telling me about this two-piece blues band he had seen the previous weekend. Because Americans receive two-piece blues bands with the regularity of a utility bill, I listened to him rave about his latest discovery with a mild air of cynicism that I have since come to regret. He told me that they were too young to be as good as they were, and that they were one of the tightest local acts he'd ever seen. As it turned out, he was pretty much dead-on.

In the years since they've appeared, the Mobros have become one of the most talked about bands not just in the state, but in the entire Southeast. Columbia music veterans speak of them with the sort of pride and amazement usually reserved for parents whose teenager has been allowed to skip the tenth grade. It's for this reason that the Mobros' first proper release, Walking with a Different Stride, has been so hotly anticipated.

And the album is good--there's no doubt about it. All of the brothers' strengths are on full display. Kelly Morris has a rich, soulful voice that would be unusual even for an older and world-wearier man, while drummer Patrick Morris deftly melds creativity with discipline and plays in perfect syncopation with his brother's galloping guitar lines. For added flavor, breezy harmonies are spread throughout the album with effective economy. As recorded proof of the duo’s talent as musicians and songwriters, Different Stride is a success; but it lacks a certain energy that has always been integral to the band's appeal.

The Mobros aren't exactly at fault. This is the sort of problem you run into when a live band this good tries to translate its stage energy into another form altogether. Some bands do it with ease while for others it can be like gluing a lightning bolt to the sky. But the problem really has less to do with the artist and more to do with the way people consume the music in their own community. A big-time national touring band may only come around once or twice a year, so the record is really the best you can do while you wait to see them again. When an act as undeniably talented as The Mobros is something local, and it's not that difficult to see in person, an album will always feel second best. But really, it's not unthinkable that the Mobros could become a national touring band someday soon, and when that happens, Walking with a Different Stride might benefit from reappraisal." – Michael Spawn

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