I met “Princess of Twang” Nancy Apple in 2013, my first year [Sidenote: This is the eighth post in our coverage of the seventeenth annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. We’ll be alternating our reporting with essays and photo galleries from the twenty-second festival in 2019, so check in often for a mix of old and new Woodyfest goodness.] volunteering to document the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. I had photographed her earlier in the day and happened to sit next to her at the communal dinner held backstage at the Pastures of Plenty.
We got to chatting and she remarked,
Nice shirt, referring to my Ardent Records [Sidenote: The Memphis pop label was founded by John Fry in 1959. From 1972 to 1975 the label’s music was distributed by Stax Records. Their most famous act was Big Star, whose first two albums helped define the genre “power pop.”] logo t-shirt. She went on to tell me that she had designed the Ardent Records logo years earlier when she owned a small graphic design business in Memphis.
Apple played on every stage of the festival during the period from 2006 to 2018. Festivalgoers know her for staying up late jamming in the Days Inn motel parking lot and trading songs and stories at the campground song circles. Apple is also known for making friends wherever she goes.
Today’s gallery comprises images from Apple’s 2014 Crystal Theatre showcase and her program at the Colonial Estates Nursing Home. The facility is one of two nursing homes located in Okemah, where the festival is held. Both facilities host annual community outreach by festival musicians, except in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 precautions. Apple has performed for the residents at both facilities over the years.
Appearing alongside Apple at the Crystal Theatre are Terry “Buffalo” Ware, Michael McCarty, Don Morris, Butch Morgan, and T. Z. Wright. Apart from Morgan, all are members of the festival house band, The Oklahoma Geniuses.
Apple owns the independent record label Ringo Records.