As an artist, music has always been the medium Molly Gene chooses to express herself. “Rhythm was something that was in my blood before I could even walk,” she reflects. Her grandmother’s late-night honky-tonk, leg-swinging, piano playing, and her older brother Josh’s heavy metal rock band became the foundation of her musical roots. When she was later introduced to the Delta Blues after acquiring a vintage 1960s Univox electric guitar and beginning to play slide, she felt like she had discovered “real” music. She wove together the three styles into her own made-up genre, which she coined “Delta Thrash,” and for more than a decade toured the United States and Europe as a raucous, self-made, One Whoaman Band.
In addition to creating her own style of music, Molly also developed a stage persona that was tough with a “don’t take no shit from nobody” attitude. As a young woman on the road alone, running her own business in a mostly male-dominated field, she often felt people were trying to take advantage of her and that she wasn’t being respected. Her persona not only helped give her courage to stand up for herself and demand fair pay, but also helped her find the grit it took to endure that lifestyle. “When you’re getting started and you’re going through it, you’re just sort of learning as you go and kind of falling on your face and brushing yourself off again.” Resilience and stamina, along with a few shots of whiskey, seemed like the key to success.
For 12 years she lived the life of a touring independent musician: booking her own tours, hauling her own gear, selling merch, and performing her high energy, boot stomping, one woman shows. Her freight train performances, late nights drinking, lack of sleep, and poor eating began to drain her physically, and there was an emotional aspect, too. Her brother Josh had tragically died when Molly was a senior in high school, and her dedication to her musical career was in part a tribute to him. I became “a warrior for music for the both of us,” she resolves. “I remember standing by his grave saying, “I’m gonna play until my fingers fall off.” Every note she sang, her gravelly hollering and wailing, came from the despair, anger, and grief that she could not contain. But as the years rolled on, Molly realized that what she needed was to heal—physically, emotionally, and mentally—rather than add gasoline to her inner fire.
In 2016 Molly began studying yoga during her off-season from touring in the Florida Keys, where growing up she and her family lived part-time during the farming off-season in Missouri. With regular yoga practice, healthy food, sleep, and rest, Molly began to recover. It didn’t take long for her to realize that yoga was not only a method for releasing pain from past injuries but also a path to heal personal trauma as well. Fast forward 500 teacher training hours later, and Molly is ready to apply what she has learned to benefit others. Music has always been a therapeutic outlet for her “because I just sing and play how I feel,” but now she is making music with the intention to help others heal. Her new musical style incorporates ancient Sanskrit mantras, breathing techniques, and healing vibrations along with instruments, whether shruti box or guitar, and original poetry that further unfold the meaning of the mantra and help the active listener achieve “altered states of consciousness.” Her new slogan is “Music as Medicine,” and the music she creates is from her heart, not an imitation of another artist or style.
Molly is currently creating songs and developing content for a 10-day workshop she will launch later this year. Each day will focus on a different topic, such as forgiveness or courage, into which Molly will integrate her original poetry and music. In addition to the music experience, the participants will journal, do contemplative exercises, learn pranayama breathing techniques, and listen to lectures for deeper understanding of how they can slow down, heal, and “Live a Life of Purpose.”
“The core thing that I have always wanted hasn’t changed. I always just wanted to inspire people.” Whether rocking out or tuning in, her inspirational ability quickly makes fans out of her audience. When she retired from her rock and roll lifestyle at the end of 2019, she had a going out of business sale and declared on social media that she would smash any CDs that didn’t sell, as well as take down all content from her website; her fans were distraught. “Some people were happy for me, but a lot of people, they just didn’t understand how I could take all of that down.” But Molly doesn’t need validation to know she is on the right path. She has learned to trust her inner wisdom, or intuition, and follow her heart. “You can’t let your ego grab a hold of your life,” she warns. “The world doesn’t need more successful people. It needs more healers.”
These days, you can find Molly Gene in her country home, down a long gravel road, on an abandoned family turkey farm started by her grandparents following the Great Depression, who had rags to riches success with their efforts. Her sister, Maggie, with her husband and newborn baby, stay a stone’s throw away off their shared driveway with alpaca, cattle, and horses surrounding them, and her parents live a mere quarter mile down the road. The intact mule barn, hatcheries, and antique farm tools have become a backdrop to their daily life. It’s “almost like I live on a museum,” Molly smiles. “It’s always felt really healing and inspiring to me to be out here.” With gratitude for those who came before her, rooted to the present moment, with people she loves nearby, Molly is poised to move forward with her heart open, sending her healing vibrations out into the world.
-Written by Andrea Glinn