If you happen to be in Mississippi and see a tattered sign at a supermarket or laundromat announcing a gospel-quartet concert, forsake all else and go! These groups, made up of singers ranging from age 4 to near certain death and playing little more than a drum, a heel of a shoe and a guitar, must be experienced live. Their upset of pews and the devil must be witnessed.
This music is not new--you have heard it in the Black Keys, Beyoncé and Prince. But these concerts, or "singings" as we call them in Mississippi, are seedless, not-ready-for-Ryan-Seacrest straight shots to the soul. When you get a good one, it is a corporeal experience. Some piece of you will hurt. But that won't be the story you will tell.
Perhaps I am a heathen exhorting you to go for the merits of the music and not for the purpose of saving your soul, but if by chance you get a little trickle-down religion too, just count it as a glorious extra.
Ellis stars in Quantico and can be seen in upcoming film The Birth of a Nation