The Tonight Show set doubled as a church-turned-strip club during Ashley McBryde’s appearance on the show last night. The country musician performed “Gospel Night at the Strip Club” alongside John Osborne, who produced McBryde’s latest album and stands in for the track’s original featured artist, Benjy Davis.
The hook, which promises “Jesus loves the drunkards and the whores and the queers,” is the only fully sung part of the song, turned into a choir-like performance with the help of three background vocalists (representing characters in the song), and McBryde in the lead.
The rest of the record tumbles out as more of a spoken word retelling of a night Jesus stopped in at the strip club, took in the stories of the characters all around him, dropped a $20 bill on the counter, and slipped out the door.
“It’s gospel night at the strip club, been sleepin’ in my car/I lead the singin’ service with a half-ass tuned guitar,” McBryde begins her story. “Brandy’s singin’ backup while Lonnie’s tendin’ bar
Just waitin’ for more sinners to show up.”
“Gospel Night at the Strip Club” appeared on the singer’s fifth studio album Lindeville. The concept album takes snapshots of characters like Brandy and Lonnie, painting a comprehensive picture of the people bustling through a small town and trying to make ends meet – whether through working, drinking, cheating, or simply searching for community and connection.
“We get to reference the people we are and the characters we can be and then also the people, that you’ve definitely encountered in the city or the town you live in,” McBryde told Rolling Stone in September. “It doesn’t matter if you were from Seattle or Starke, Florida, or the Ozark Mountains, you know this one woman that if her husband cheated on her, she would absolutely throw that bitch through a table.”