Bullz-Eye’s Best of 2010: Staff Writer Scott Malchus’ picks

Each year, when I sort through my favorite songs, I have trouble ranking them because each one has a different meaning to me. I always wind up creating a mixtape (or a playlist, for you younger readers) of those songs and arrange them so that the music flows like a great album or concert set. Without further ado, here’s my mix of the twenty songs I returned to for repeated listens throughout 2010.

“Fade Like a Shadow,” KT Tunstall
Tunstall continues to produce pop gems that are spirited, bright and full of life. This single from her latest, Tiger Suit, has everything you want in a single: a passionate delivery, a great melodic hook, and a unique rhythm that helps it stand out from other songs. A great way to kick off a mix tape.

“I Should Have Known It,” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The lead single from Mojo has that vintage Petty snarl and bite. The rest of the album may be a mixed bag, but this great rocker builds to kick-ass guitar jam and stands up with some of their best.

Read the rest after the jump...

Laura Cortese: Acoustic Project

RIYL: Uncle Earl, Pete Seeger

Laura Cortese is a well known side musician whose skill on the fiddle, vocals and bass have made her a favorite with artists as diverse as Uncle Earl and Band of Horses. She’s released two solo LPs and two EPs before the release of Acoustic Project, a seven-song set of music featuring just fiddles and cello, with Coreste handling vocal duties on five of the songs (the other two are instrumentals).

Acoustic Project is short and sweet. All of the songs have their own unique sound and feel as if they were drawn from some time long ago when folk songs were passed down from the mountains to Greenwich Village. However, most of these compositions were recent compositions, so their timeless quality is a tribute to the songwriting talent of Cortese and the few collaborators who helped her out.

“Perfect Tuesdays” is a rollicking, Cajun-influenced song, while “5 Tune” has the charm and spirit of an old pioneer jig.  The highlight of the Acoustic Project is “Women of the Ages,” a haunting, beautiful song that features plucking violins, a cello and Cortese’s gorgeous voice. It has the stature of an old Irish folk song and will stay with you for weeks. That song alone you should give you reason seek out Acoustic Project. However there is enough great music on this EP to make it well worth your while the next time you’re looking for something unique and adventurous. (Laura Cortese 2010)

Laura Cortese website
Purchase Acoustic Project through Amazon