From the intricate finger-picking intro to the final spiritually tinged note, Decatur folk singer Caroline Herring has created a rich panorama that captures the essence of her voice, the power of her words, and her unique ability to interpret the work of others. Golden Apples of the Sun is Herring’s fourth release, and like each of its predecessors the delightful project builds and extrapolates the finer points of folk music. It’s a genre that can become stale, but Herring avoids the pitfalls by mixing her literary original material with well-crafted covers of Joni Mitchell (“Cactus Tree”), Cyndi Lauper (“True Colors”), and country songwriting duo Dill/Wilkin’s gothic composition “Long Black Veil” — which Herring deftly reshapes into an even darker Appalachian murder ballad. The sparse arrangements and production allow the songs to stand out, leaving Golden Apples with you long after the music ends. 5 out of 5 stars.