Gene Moran Channels Road Woes and Personal Struggles in New Single “In A Flash”

Country music was built on the backs of musicians who spent grueling hours on America’s endless highways between low-paying gigs, self-medicating in their downtime to deal with chronic pain, loneliness and boredom. It’s what Americana upstart Gene Moran has witnessed all too often from people in his life. He explores the danger of those long, slow hours in his new single “In A Flash.”

The former teacher out of Mesa, Arizona has worked through a lot just to play smoky rooms and juke joints. Born with cerebral palsy, Moran had to develop his own playing style and get over a crippling stage fright before he could bring his high, lonesome tunes to audiences.

“Starting from when I was 15, I’ve always wanted to be in bands like my friends in high school,” he explains. “But I had a hang up about being disabled and playing on stage and thought I would look stupid.”

“In A Flash” deals with putting anxious thoughts to bed with an unhealthy mix of alcohol, nicotine and prescription pills. In a dusty croak reminiscent of Steve Earle, Moran delivers an unvarnished look at life on the road over a rambling guitar line that wouldn’t sound out of place on any ‘70s speed-addled trucker tune.

“Smoking cigarettes for breakfast, my dinner’s alcohol, two hours of shut eye, if I even sleep at all, so I just keep on going, life goes by in a flash,” he sings. “I gotta bad, bad feeling, tonight might be my last.”

Moran says the tune has caught on in the rooms away from those long white lines, with audience members approaching him and sharing how relatable they found the strung-out bit of honky-tonking.

“I wrote it in the parking lot of a pharmacy while waiting for a prescription refill,” he said. “One of the things I like about this song is almost every time I play it live, people come up to me and tell me that they can relate to this song because they have similar experiences in their own lives and they don’t feel so alone.”

The single follows “Dead Man’s Guitar,” a direct reckoning with the events that pushed him to overcome his disability and develop his own guitar-picking style. Both tunes are chock full of the sort of lonely, twangy songwriting that would have filled up jukeboxes in desert diners during the era of the 45 singles.