Gary Winston Apple has been a high school teacher, a political candidate — he ran for the District 29 seat in the Missouri House in November — and an author. But music has long been a passion and interest. Back in the 1970s, the Kansas City native signed a deal with Monument Records, thanks to the song “Shoot ’Em Up, Cowboy,” which made some waves on the charts but lost its momentum when the label’s distribution deal was severed. 

Apple will be among the 12 performers and bands being inducted Saturday into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Apple told The Star that the induction represents the excellence of the music community he continues to work in.

“Although I am solidly mediocre on keyboards and an adequate guitarist, I am primarily a singer/songwriter and producer,” he said by email. “As such, I have always depended on the accompaniment of talented musicians to really bring my songs to life. There are so many talented musicians here, both now and going back to the early days of my career, writing songs and then recording them has always been and continues to be a source of great happiness for me.”

Winston, who is working on his 15th studio album, said music has become primarily a hobby, so getting recognized for it is another bonus.

“To be perfectly honest, I write and record for my own pleasure and amusement. I am not capable of doing it any other way,” he said. “However, I am always pleased to find that someone else enjoys what I’ve created. I love knowing that people all around the world download my music and sometimes even pay for the privilege. Having my work recognized by the Kansas Music Hall of Fame is especially meaningful to me.”

Timothy Finn, The Star


Excerpt from review of "Alias Zimmerman! (Apple Sings Dylan)" -

To Apple's credit, he gives these 26 Dylan songs a vigorous workout and presents them as a collection to absorb song-by-song and as a whole. He’s no doppelganger and isn't trying to imitate Dylan. Rather, imagine Apple as a Zimmerman, or an Everyman with the talent and chutzpah to tackle some of the most famous landmarks in the American songbook.

While there is some faint semblance to Dylan’s master blueprint on a few tracks, Apple and his band take liberties and playfully apply a touch of reggae and ska, a soupçon of blues, country, exuberant classic rock, and piano bar gusto to their interpretations and bold arrangements.

Click on link above for full review.

Review of "Alias Zimmerman! (Apple Sings Dylan)" -

The album features full-band performances of 26 early Dylan songs. Many of the tracks are unique arrangements, the most notable is a Watchtower that incorporates some lyrics from Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. I can't describe it any better than the description of the album on his website: "features Dylan classics (and less well-known tunes) from the mid-sixties, re-arranged, re-interpreted, and re-imagined, filtered through Winston's unique production style: wall of sound rock, with a variety of influences: country, blues, reggae, ska, and folk." 

Highly recommended.

Review of "The First One's Free" -

The vocalist also handles keyboards, guitar and percussion on this self-composed set of uptempo pop tunes. Apple is backed by a 10 member band which features flute, pedal steel and violin in addition to the customary rock LP backup. The songs display catchy melodic hooks which should generate radio interest. Best cuts: "Shoot 'em Up, Cowboy," "Right Where She Wants Me," "Holdin' Onto Love."

Monument is moving into the pop field and Apple may be the artist to lead the way. After paying his dues for years in the Kansas City area, Apple has come up with a golden delicious label debut filled with crisp pop-rock tunes and tasty lyrics. While every track is strong, "Shoot 'em Up, Cowboy," a rocking call for gun control, and "Holdin' Onto Love," which melds a ballad with some stirring instrumentals, stand out. A special new album.

It's about time Kansas City turned out a good album like this one. Apple, 26, has been playing for ten years around town with groups like Speakeasy and Appletree. This LP, recorded at Cavern Sound in Independence and mixed by Wally Heider's in L.A., is being distributed on a local basis right now, mostly in independent record stores. With a little luck one of the big labels will pick up on it, because it is certainly superior to a lot of the stuff on the market right now.
Apple sings, performs on the piano and guitar and has surrounded himself with fine local talent. The result is a thoroughly professional album and at least two or three cuts that ought to get radio play.
The music is basically light rock, but it delves into several styles. There is, for example, a great blues cut, "Sinner from the Sky," featuring great bottleneck guitar and harp work by Allen Blasco, "Back on My Feet," a solid country rocker featuring Billy Spears on fiddle and "Toadstool Madonna," a heavy rocker featuring some imaginative synthesizer work by Steve Rice.
There's "Dream," a funny, slightly naughty and over-dramatic song about a young man intimidated by his dream girl that offers a fine, funky sax solo by Steve Hauser.
Another winner is "If You've Got Money, Honey," a honky tonk piano piece that offers this view of sexual equality:
I truly believe,
Diamonds are a boy's best friend, too,
I feel no shame, 
In layin' back and living off you.
Apple wrote or co-wrote all the songs, sings with gusto and a real sense of humor and manages to keep up the pace without letting down. If "Toadstool Madonnas" was just an album independently produced by a local artist it would be of limited interest. Thing is, it's a genuinely good LP that grows on you a little more each time you hear it.
Try it out. You'll be doing more than patronizing a local artist. You'll be doing yourself a favor.


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Buy music

Winston's albums can be ordered on-line through CD Baby and many other sites, or special ordered at most brick and mortar stores. Downloads are available through most sites. Here are links to two of the most popular:

Winston's iTunes page: Winston Apple

Winston's CD Baby page: