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FUV Essentials

There are so many variables that determine what makes an artist or band “essential” — longevity, impact, influence, history and discography — so WFUV is taking a deeper look with FUV Essentials. On-air and online, we'll celebrate the musicians who have shaped our cultural soundtrack for the past fifty years and still continue to do so. Let’s love these essential artists while they’re here, and also honor those who have departed too soon.

Esperanza Spalding: Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs

Esperanza Spalding's shapeshifting and erudite command of the many fusions between jazz, soul, rock, pop and gospel is a reminder of the versatility of one of her favorite musicians, Aretha Franklin. And as Esperanza Spalding enthuses in her observant and ebullient "Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs" for FUV Essentials, "[Aretha's] whole musical spirit speaks to me."

Jesca Hoop's Five Essential Patti Smith Songs

As a longtime solo artist and as one half of a duo with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop has always been a fearless, insightful lyricist, so it's not surprising that Hoop found an early kinship with our FUV Essentials artist Patti Smith. Like Smith, Hoop confronts hard truths with empathy and strength—and in her perceptive picks for "Five Essential Patti Smith Songs," it's clear that the Smith was an early guide for a young Hoop, finding her way and her words in California.

The National's Scott Devendorf: Five Essential Grateful Dead Songs

It's fair to say that Scott Devendorf, of The National and LNZNDRF has been living and breathing the music of the Grateful Dead for a lifetime. The bassist, who wrote about his "Five Essential Grateful Dead Songs" for FUV, worked with his bandmates from the National on the epic, five-hour, 59-track Day of the Dead covers compilation which came out in the spring of 2016.

The Band

Leave it to a mostly Canadian band — with the most basic, universal moniker — to lay down one of the most influential and sophisticated cornerstones in American folk, blues, and roots rock 'n' roll. The Band, a group that strove to embrace freedom, empathy, human rights activism and inclusiveness, is one of our FUV Essentials.

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