We are huge fans of modern gospel music, having been turned onto it many years ago by one Buddy Strong, then a South Mountain High music wunderkind and now one of the most sought-after and respected sidemen in the biz.
(Here is our long-ago story on Mr. Strong, who still lives in the Valley and will be featured down the road in an update story on his remarkable life and music.)
When Buddy isn't on the road--he used to be Usher's musical director, and now does the same for Houston-based Israel Houghton and New Breed, one of the hottest gospel acts on the globe--he does his thing at downtown Phoenix's Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church at 1401 East Jefferson Street.
Buddy is on the road at the moment, but the mega-church (a five-minute walk from this newspaper) will be host tonight to one of gospel's truly greatest voices, Detroit's Fred Hammond.
A receptionist at the church tells us that the free show, yes it is FREE, is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and it is first-come, first-served.
One of our IPOD playlists always includes his late-1990s torcher, "Your Steps Are Ordered," a tour de force that moves us to the nth degree.
Truly an inspired performance, and one can only pray that he'll be doing the tune tonight.
Though we definitely are the jeans and T-shirt type, we will be donning (if not quite our Sunday best) our Saturday night kind-of-best tonight when we amble over to Pilgrim Rest and listen to one of the world's most inspired and inspiring voices, Mr. Fred Hammond.