Gene Moran Is Rocking A Dead Man’s Guitar

The Arizona musician celebrates a powerful influence on his latest single.

Gene Moran strikes a powerful personal chord on his new single Dead Man’s Guitar — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

Dead Man’s Guitar tells the true story of the first guitar Arizona musician Moran ever owned, which he received when his uncle Andy Arias passed away. Moran, the “musician who shouldn’t be a musician,” describes his uncle as the “best guitarist in Yuma,” and credits his lifelong love of the instrument to the time they spent working on guitar together.

Moran finds his sound somewhere between the Hank Williams school of lonesome, the more experimental landscape of alt-rock, grunge and fuzz, with a sprinkle of unmistakably Arizonan desert rock. Though he’s now a seasoned live music professional, many may find it hard to believe he once struggled with stage fright! “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 hangup about being disabled and playing on stage and thought I would look stupid.”

Moran was born with cerebral palsy, a disability that affects motor skills. Though his condition initially made learning an instrument look difficult, Moran’s desire to create his own music pushed him to find his own unique approach. “I shouldn’t even be able to play the guitar,” he admits. “Because of the dexterity required to play the guitar I had to figure out a different way — by laying the guitar flat on my lap I was able to use my thumb to press down on certain strings and mute other strings to create chords. However, my dexterity limits my ability to play cover songs due to the complexity of how a traditional guitarist plays guitar. I figured being able to create chords is all you need to create songs. This forced me to start songwriting.”

Moran kept his songs to himself for nearly 30 years before having the courage to show a few of them to his friend Joe Peña, a respected songwriter from Tucson. “He said I was stupid for thinking I would look stupid playing on stage in my wheelchair,” Moran fondly recalls. “He also said it would be a shame if I didn’t share my songs and perform live. So I took his advice, and I played an open mic night. My songs were really well received, and I never looked back.”

Check out Dad Man’s Guitar above, hear more from Gene Moran below, and keep up with him on his website, Facebook and Instagram.