A touch of Hudson, a glimpse of glory
Via DBM, here’s Jennifer Hudson stealing the show with a few lines from “His Eye is On the Sparrow” during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon (the singing starts around the 2:00 mark):
Words (almost) fail in these kinds of wonder-working moments, no? Oddly enough, I found myself trying to make this point just yesterday while finishing a little piece of writing for a magazine that includes a regular how-to feature. The editor wanted a “how to listen to southern gospel music” piece from me, and at one point I was trying to describe how you can’t really explain what happens when a gospel song takes us by the collar and shakes us to the very core of ourselves with just a handful of notes. It just happens. Watching Fallon’s response to all this is the perfect distillation of this gospel allure: the music’s ability to speak in a nearly universal language - across history, culture and creed - about the soul’s striving after grace and salvation.
For those of us who know well what Fallon might very well have been experiencing for the first time, part of what thrills here is to glimpse the command and charisma of a gifted artist so freely at work, the easy equipoise of her power and precision, the unflappability of pros who can fall in together around timelessly familiar material, the unself-conscious ability to bring glory down among the masses. I’ve got my doubts about how “impromptu,” as DBM puts it, that this all is (it’s network television after all). But to my mind, that only makes it all the more gobsmackingly glorious … to watch someone transcend the formulaic boundaries and preprogrammed plasticity of late-night television with a few bars of a glorious gospel.
So, now, can we have a Jennifer Hudson album of
funeral gospel music, please?
Speaking of “His Eye is on the Sparrow”: Here’s another one of my favorite truncations of this song, featuring Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount, from one of the Sister Act movies:Email this Post