So many variables determine what makes an artist or band “essential” — longevity, impact, influence, history. On-air and online, we celebrate the musicians who have shaped our cultural soundtrack for the past fifty years. Let’s love these FUV Essential artists while they’re here, and honor those who have departed too soon.
Valerie June's lyrics reflect a storyteller's rich sensitivity, colored with innate compassion and a keen social awareness, and they reveal not only her own journey, but the early impact of the musicians she loved as a child, like our FUV Essentials artist, Bob Marley. She wrote up her "Five Essential Bob Marley Songs" as FUV celebrates the Jamaican icon's legacy.
Valerie June (photo by Jacob Blickenstaff, PR)
As an innovative, adventurous musician, one who deftly brings activism and bold theatricality to her work, it's not surprising that Merrill Garbus, who records as tUnE-yArDs, would find a strong kinship with Radiohead. Garbus and her bandmates have released a fourth album, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life, in January 2018.
tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus and bandmate Nate Brenner (photo by Eliot Lee Hazel, PR)
Hurray for the Riff Raff's Alynda Segarra writes from the sharp perspective of a native New Yorker, traversing a similarly socially outspoken, urban path as Lou Reed. Segarra has found inspiration in Reed's fearless lyricism, as she eloquently writes in her "Five Essential Lou Reed Songs."
Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff (photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media, PR)
New York punk ambassador Jesse Malin, of D Generation and Heart Attack, has been friends with the Replacements for a long time, touring with them too. He has a special affection for the "bourbon-soaked country side" of the band and wrote affectionately about his friends' songs for FUV Essentials.
Jesse Malin (photo by Illaria Conte, PR)
Norah Jones hails from Texas like one of her most beloved influences, Willie Nelson. She has performed with Nelson many times, in the studio on standards like the Christmas classic, "Baby It's Cold Outside," found on his 2009 album American Classic. She chose her "Five Essential Willie Nelson Songs" for FUV.
Norah Jones (photo by Danny Clinch, PR)