Nancy Apple,
Shoulda Lied About That
(Ringo, 2003)

Memphis has a long tradition as a melting pot of different musical styles, so it never surprises me that singers raised there record music that includes many different influences. Nancy Apple's music is rooted in country but she can rock 'n' roll and she can also sound very bluesy when the song suits. These are qualities she shares with the most famous Memphis singer of them all but Apple's music is very different. Her voice has plenty of twang, which may not suit everybody, but I love it.

Apple is a multi-instrumentalist -- on this album, she plays acoustic guitar, harmonica, accordion and tambourine. I believe she can also play drums but James Cunningham plays them on this album. Jay Harrington (electric guitar) and Ronnie Vandiver (bass) are the other main instrumentalists, though Ronnie also plays piano and guitar on some tracks.

The songs offer plenty of variety. "This Time Around" and "Have Mercy" are mid-tempo blues-country songs. "Mama's Stories" remembers the past, while "Fruit of the Vine" is an amusing song about the consequences of drinking. "The Kind to Break My Heart" is mid-tempo with a touch of rock 'n' roll, while "Same Old Thing" is more upbeat. "Shoulda Lied About That" is a bluesy ballad. "Queen of Country" is a typical country story-song about an unknown singer. "Cookin' Good" is a slice of hillbilly rock 'n' roll. "My Boyfriend" is very funny, "The Outlaw" is a western song complete with yodelling. "Angel Fire" is a great traditional country yarn. "Hard Luck 'n' Old Dogs" is another traditional country song. The set is completed by another version of "Fruit of the Vine."

Apple's music may be too eclectic for her ever to become a major star in today's music scene, but if you are interested in alt-country and Americana and you like a twangy voice, this is for you.

- Rambles
written by Peter D. Harris
published 3 January 2004

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