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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.

Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant's second solo album, Ophelia, turns 20 years old on Saturday, May 19. While Merchant isn't doing anything special to mark the occasion, FUV will celebrate that gorgeous album with selected tracks that day, at 8 a.m. and noon (streaming online).

Sharon Jones

On what would have been Sharon Jones's 62nd birthday on Friday, May 4, 2018, FUV is celebrating one of our most beloved artists — and friends — by spinning nothing but the music of incomparable women, like Jones, all day.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson, who turns 85 years old on April 29, 2018, knows he's a pretty blessed survivor. His new album, Last Man Standing, is his 73rd studio album and while it wrestles with mortality, it does so with a wistful grin, a shuffling groove, a hearty swig of beer, and a little (maybe more) weed. He's an FUV Essentials legend.

Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn's diverse, compelling career has spanned Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad & the Queen, the collaborations of Africa Express, musical theatre, his own solo work and much more. A visionary musician with a workaholic's tenacity, he's one of our FUV Essentials.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson: Five Essential Steely Dan Songs

Unknown Mortal Orchestra released its fourth album this year, Sex & Food, a record that found singer, songwriter and guitarist Ruban Nielson traveling the globe. And yes, a jazzy hint of Nielson's beloved Steely Dan gently ripples through new tracks like "Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays" and the tender "Hunnybee."

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