Kendl Winter is an Arkansas-born, Olympia-based picker and songwriter who's active in numerous bands in the area and has a handful of solo albums under her belt as well. Her fourth, Apple Core, first appeared in early 2010 in a handmade limited run of 250 available on Etsy.com, but was picked up for reissue later in the year by local D.I.Y. mainstay K Records, making it her first release to see wider distribution. As that history suggests, Apple Core is a proudly homespun affair: it was recorded in a basement and on a boat in Puget Sound, and features spirited, skillful musicianship that nevertheless emphasizes feel over precision -- and it sounds every bit as warm and inviting as you would imagine. Roughly a third of the album is overtly bluegrass-based; the remainder is tuneful indie folk with more or less pronounced country influences. (Though even the least country-inflected number, the opening urban-bohemian biking ode "Made It Through the Yellow," features a sufficiently folksy pronunciation of "avant-garde" to let us know we needn't worry about any arty indie pretensions here.) It may be largely a one-woman show -- Winter's acoustic guitar and banjo work and her sweetly twangy vocals (and multi-tracked harmonies) form the album's core, sometimes augmented by slide guitar, piano, drums, and the occasional fiddle or horn section -- but there's a friendly, collective, front-porch vibe throughout. Winter's songwriting is sweet but not too sticky -- her conversational lyrics, on everyday love, life, and death, peppered with pastoral imagery and the occasional good-natured joke, don't always leave a strong impression, though she fares better on the topical "Dr. Tiller," a pointed pro-choice ballad documenting the 2009 murder of Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, and the title cut, a two-part fiddle tune/nursery rhyme pairing backyard lovesickness metaphors with gardening tips (and banana slug taunts). But she's got plenty of gently soaring melodies to make up for it, with the loping, low-key "Dance Gently on My Grave" and the farewell waltz "On to Me" offering two of the most memorable. All told, a winning introduction to an easily likable talent who will hopefully have plenty more to offer in the future.