Molly Gene, aka One Whoaman Band, rocked the True/False Film Festival last year, so I was glad to see her in the lineup again. The Festival has always offered live music before each film, and the tradition has grown into a phenomena all its own. They have showcases at local clubs and people discuss their favorite acts as fervently as they champion the films they admire.
Gene’s new album will be titled Delta Thrash, and that’s an apt description of her music as well. Her blues style echoes the Mississippi Delta pioneers, often employing a slide on her metal body resonator guitar. But she takes the sound and sends it up to Chicago for the electric, fuzzy crunch of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. The results are most satisfying.
As her name implies, Gene falls into the increasingly popular multi-instrument, one-person performance style traditionally known as the One (Wo)Man Band. However, practitioners have taken the novelty, side-show reputation of the form and transformed it into art that requires a technical mastery of instruments and timing that produces astounding layers of sound. Gene always play guitar and a foot drum and can also blow a mean harmonica. If you close your eyes, you would swear a three or four piece band held the stage.
If you wonder what type of songs a modern blues woman composes, Gene offered up “Roofied and Ripped Off” which she described as an accounting of the unfortunate aftermath of an ill-fated gig. That’s why we’ll always need the blues. She introduced another work as the moment “your man comes home smelling of whiskey and another woman’s perfume.” Molly Gene has her blues bona fides and then some.
At some point during every song, Gene enters that marvelous state where it appears she has become oblivious to everything and everyone around her, and she has found an entrance to another means of understanding those eight bars of blues and invites you along for the ride.
To close one set, Gene switched to a solid body electric guitar and destroyed the AC/DC anthem “T.N.T.” That song practically oozes testosterone, but Gene wrestled it away from Angus and the boys and made it her own. Don’t mess with the Delta Thrash.