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 the three years since FUV first celebrated Bob Dylan as an FUV Essentials, he's won the Nobel Prize in Literature, released another album of American standards and more volumes of the "Bootleg Series," and ahead, he unveils the colossal 14-disc The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings — accompanied by a Martin Scorsese documentary on Netflix too.
Bob Dylan (photo by John Shearer, courtesy of Columbia Records)
As a singer, songwriter, guitarist, acclaimed producer, Nashville studio owner, record label executive, modern bluesman, and a member of multiple bands, Dan Auerbach doesn't much sleep these days. Whether working with Patrick Carney on the Black Keys' ninth album or producing Yola or Shannon Shaw at his own Easy Eye Sound studios, the very busy Auerbach is one of our FUV Essentials.
Dan Auerbach (original photo by Neil Swanson for WFUV)
The indefatigable and mighty Mavis Staples turns 80 on July 10, 2019. She's triumphantly celebrating all angles of that milestone birthday with friends and fans this May with a new album, We Get By, and three star-studded concerts in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles.
Mavis Staples (photo by Laura Fedele for WFUV)
In 2019, everything is going Tank and the Bangas' way. The New Orleans band, winners of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert back in 2017, releases its major label debut, Green Balloon, on May 3 via Verve Forecast. Frontwoman Tank Ball writes about what she loves about her NOLA's unique music in her "Five Essential New Orleans Songs," ahead of her band's appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on May 4.
Tank and the Bangas (photo by Alex Marks, PR)
Robert Smith of the Cure is crossing a batch of significant events in 2019: he turns 60 on April 21; the Cure's debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, turns 40 on May 8; and as of May 2, 1989's Disintegration, will have comforted the melancholy for exactly 30 years. And there's a new album on the way this autumn — it's the Cure's year indeed.
The Cure (photo courtesy of Fiction Records)
There is a perfect yin-yang balance to the music of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray, known as (the) Indigo Girls, and one of our FUV Essentials artists. As a duo that has broken barriers, they are sharp and caring cultural commentators and an example of how our differences make us better and stronger when we work together.