Memphis, Tenn. has been overshadowed as a center of roots music by its sister city to the East. That may be about to change, thanks to Nancy Apple, who has been a local sensation for several years and may be about to go national with this, her third album.
Apple is a witty urban cowgirl with an irresistible twang. And she's easily as versatile as a Swiss army knife. She can go sentimental ("Mama's Stories) or set the room spinning with one of the best hangover songs ever ("Fruit of the Vine".) "My Boyfriend" is a redneck love poem ("He's got all of his teeth, for which I'm proud/I can hold my head up high in a crowd.") The autobiographical "Queen of Country" is a love song as well, extolling the joys of honky-tonk singing and attaining small-time fame. She even channels Carlos Castenada on "Angel Fire" albeit through her own down-home sensibilities.
By the way, Ringo Records is named not for the Beatle drummer but for the Japanese word for apple, so this CD is educational as well as entertaining. And that's the truth. (3992 Hawkins Mill Road, Memphis, TN 38128, 901-213-9726)