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.
The music that Sam Beam has been making for the past 15 years as Iron & Wine is born of a multitude of traditions — Southern blues, jazz, folk, gospel, bluegrass, country and more. The elemental core of his artistry is visceral, tender and wise, like something mined from the earth, and with every year, it has developed character, boldness, sweetness, and a refined complexity. Iron & Wine's Sam Beam is one of our FUV Essentials.
Sam Beam of Iron & Wine (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Nobody tells Neil Young what to do. Famously headstrong and opinionated, the determination that drove him to change gears so many times in his career is the very thing that made him a world-famous musician in the first place. For his triumph over adversity, his steely vision, his sweet heart, and for the sweat and tears he put into becoming a transcendent artist, Neil Young is one of our FUV Essentials.
Neil Young (illustration by Andy Friedman)
An inimitable artist who has the rare ability to heal, electrify and inspire with every song she's ever released, Kate Bush, is one of our FUV Essentials. From her very first single, 1978's "Wuthering Heights," to her astonishing 22-date "Before The Dawn" residency at London's Hammersmith Apollo in 2014, Bush remains one of rock and art-pop's most innovative, influential artists.
Kate Bush (illustration by Andy Friedman)
In the vast annals of this country's great builders of songs, John Prine is an indisputable master. An American songwriter of understated genius, his astute grasp of character and story defines nearly his 50-year output of recordings. Prine is an FUV Essentials artist.
John Prine (illustration by Andy Friedman)
As the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Susan Tedeschi's soulful voice and ferocious guitar chops plus Derek Trucks' fiery guitar playing equals a kind of nirvana. But the pair also have a long history of solo releases and other bands. Musicians with an uncanny, intuitive connection to their muse, the blues, Tedeschi and Trucks are absolutely FUV Essentials.
Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (illustration by Andy Friedman)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers on July 26, 2017 (photo by Dana Distortion for Forest Hills Stadium)