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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.

Jon Batiste: Five Essential Mavis and Pops Staples Songs

Since "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" debuted on CBS in September 2015,  Jon Batiste, the show's charismatic music director,  pianist and melodica master, and his group, Stay Human, have been an indelible part of America's television nightscape. Batiste is also a lifelong admirer of Mavis and Pops Staples and the Staple Singers — he co-wrote the song "Tomorrow" for Mavis's 2016 album Livin' on a High Note — and he kindly wrote a "love riot" of his "Five Essential Mavis and Pop Staples Songs" for FUV Essentials.

Son Little: Five Essential Mavis Staples Albums

Philadelphia's Son Little produced Mavis Staples' 2015 EP Your Good Fortune, winning a Grammy with Staples for her cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." Now for FUV Essentials, Little casts his eye on "Five Essential Albums" from Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers and writes about the music that changed his life.

Tucker Martine: Five Essential My Morning Jacket Songs

"My love for MMJ runs deep," wrote Tucker Martine when FUV asked the Grammy-nominated producer, engineer, mixer and studio owner if he might lend his ears and insight to "Five Essential My Morning Jacket Songs" for FUV Essentials. Martine co-produced My Morning Jacket's most recent studio albums, 2011's Circuital and 2015's The Waterfall.

Jeremiah Fraites of The Lumineers: Five Essential U2 Songs

It might be a long way from Denver to Dublin, but there's a strong bond between the Lumineers and U2. In 2017, the Lumineers opened for the Irish quartet, this week's FUV Essentials, on the spring Stateside leg of their tour commemorating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree. Given his special vantage point, we asked the Lumineers' drummer and multi-instrumentalist Jeremiah Fraites if he might weigh in with his "Five Essential U2 Songs" for FUV Essentials.


If a rock band were a country's most recognized export, it's fair to say that U2 might be Ireland's most vaunted guitar-waving gift to the globe. As the band marks the 30th anniversary of the release of The Joshua Tree, they are this week's FUV Essentials.