Nancy Apple

Outside the Lines – 2001 (Ringo)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

CDs by Nancy Apple

Nancy Apple's second CD is both a tasty slice of poppy Americana and quite the multimedia funhouse. In addition to 14 audio tracks (11 from Apple's pen), the enhanced disc opens on your PC or Macintosh desktop to provide animations, a multipage artist biography, interview and live performance video, a slideshow, song lyrics, background notes, and complete recording credits.

Musically, the Memphis-based Apple combines the downhome styles of Lucinda Williams and Libbi Bosworth, the sassiness of Wanda Jackson, the hillbilly twang of Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn and the free spirited zaniness of Cyndi Lauper. And much like the latter, she can turn on a dime from humorous to heart-tugging. "If Money s the Root of All Evil" proclaims, "If money's the root of all evil, I tell ya, I must be a saint," while "Fooled by the Heart" contemplates the cliff-diving side-effects of falling in love. "My Exercise Program" details a personal approach to health in the wake of a busted relationship ("smokin', coughin', jumpin' to conclusions, stretching the truth..."), and "Shiri Shiri Naka Naka Jyoto Ne" plays upon Japanese slang for a certain female asset.

Apple's band dishes up a generous helping of twang, supplemented by superb rockabilly rhythms on "Why d You Get So Gone" and "Bears in the Woods." And though their Memphis roots provide some of the blue notes, they d sound just as home in Texas as they do in Tennessee. (3992 Hawkins Mill Road, Memphis, TN 37126, 901-213-9726)