The Godmother of southern gospel piano
I meant to get to this earlier in the week but simply didn’t have my act together, I’m afraid. But it shouldn’t go without noting that there’s a celebration honoring Eloise Phillips, the godmother of southern gospel piano, scheduled for this Saturday, November 6, in Georgia (Roswell, to be exact … 6 p.m., Northside Baptist Church). I had hoped to make it but had to travel last weekend (to Georgia, oddly enough) for work, and two trips in one week makes Avery an even more unproductive blogger (for those interested in attending, Phillips’ daughter tells me there’s a facebook page devoted to the event or you can also contact Tracey directly … again facebook should do the trick, I gather).
Still, the interns suggested that I send a big blog shout-out to Phillips for 60 years of unrivaled mastery of the gospel style. Indeed, one reason far less got done around here this week than I had hoped was that the interns spent hours trolling youtube for decent footage of Phillips in action. They report that someone could do the world of gospel music an eternal favor by capturing some high-quality audio-visuals of Her Eloiseness in action because there appears at the moment to be an astonishing and appalling lack of material. The available clips are invariably muddy, blurry, of poor quality, and often include some off-key voice exuberantly belting out the lyrics right into the camera microphone. To wit:
Though I get how good gospel piano makes you want to sing, in this particular case, it’s rather beyond me how anyone can stand that close to gospel greatness and think that this would be a good time to deliver oneself a spontaneous solo. Then again, perhaps this is fitting, insofar as it captures the way Phillips’ brilliance, humility, and grace have been gilding the southern gospel convention world for lo these many marvelous years.Congratulations, Eloise.Email this Post