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.
In early 2018, Brian Fallon and bandmates of The Gaslight Anthem reunited temporarily to mark the 10th anniversary of their second album, The '59 Sound, with a worldwide tour, playing the record in its entirety. As any fan of the band knows, there's a lyrical nod or two to Bruce Springsteen on that album — and Brian Fallon considers "The Boss" to be a major inspiration.
The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon in the foreground (photo by Danny Clinch, PR)
The songs of Manchester's The Smiths reflected both politics and personal despair — the resounding damage of Thatcherism on the working class, bullying, abandonment, romantic isolation and estrangement — and the quartet cast that pain against luminous, shimmering melodies. The boys with the thorns in their side will always be FUV Essentials.
The Smiths (an assortment of album and singles art)
Natalie Merchant's second solo album, Ophelia, turns 20 years old on Saturday, May 19. While Merchant isn't doing anything special to mark the occasion, FUV will celebrate that gorgeous album with selected tracks that day, at 8 a.m. and noon (streaming online).
Natalie Merchant and the cover of Ophelia.
With Ani DiFranco is playing a sold-out show at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 10, 2018, it's a good time to revisit Ben Jaffe of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's reflection on his good friend and collaborator.
Ben Jaffe, center on double bass, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (photo by Danny Clinch, PR)