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FUV Essentials

There are many variables that determine what makes an artist or band “essential” — longevity, impact, influence, history, discography — and WFUV takes a deeper look with FUV Essentials. On-air and online, we celebrate musicians who have shaped our cultural soundtrack. Let’s love these artists while they’re here, and honor those who have departed too soon.

Iron & Wine

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.

Neil Young

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.

Kate Bush

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.

Joe Henry: Five Essential John Prine Songs

Joe Henry is on the brink of releasing his 14th studio album, Thrum, on October 27, and he happens to also be an enthusiastic admirer of this week's FUV Essentials artist, John Prine. When FUV asked Henry if he might like to choose "Five Essential John Prine Songs," he not only agreed, but wrote a loving and long assessment of the man and his music:

John Prine

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.