A Georgia preacher and four West Virginia soul musicians walk into a bar.
That's no joke.
The Rev. R.L. Bush is wrapping up a weeklong tour with Charleston music scene favorites the Carpenter Ants, taking his old-school gospel out of the pulpit and into bars and nightclubs around southern West Virginia.
"He's never really played outside of the church," Carpenter Ants guitarist Michael Lipton said. "For us, playing to our audiences, they're seeing something they've hardly ever seen. It's new to everybody."
The band wraps up its four-stop tour with a performance at Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille on Capitol Street at 6 p.m. tonight.
Don't worry if you can't make it, however. Bush will be back.
"We see something in each other that can take us to another level," he said. "If we take this uniqueness and build off it, we'll have something phenomenal."
It's already working pretty well. Bush and Lipton said crowds are going wild over the band's blend of Saturday night rhythm and blues and Sunday morning soul.
"Gospel brings a passion to every type of music. When we sing that gospel, we sing from our hearts," Bush said. "People are responding to it because it's from our hearts."
He and the Carpenter Ants hope to book more gigs in the near future, and plan to eventually record an album together. They've already recorded three songs, gospel standards "Angels Watching Over Me," "Mary Don't You Weep" and "Running for Jesus."
"He knew 85 percent of the gospel songs that we do," Lipton said. "We kind of couldn't believe it."
Bush met the Carpenter Ants in November after his band, Rev. R.L. Bush and the New Swan Silvertones, were asked to perform at the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame's 2013 induction ceremony.
The original Swan Silvertones disbanded in the 1960s, and founder Claude Jeter died in 2009. But Bush reformed the band in 2003 -- his grandfather Louis Johnson sang with Jeter beginning in 1955 -- so organizers invited the new Silvertones to perform at the induction as a tribute to the original group.
Lipton, who also is director of the Hall of Fame, recruited members of the Carpenter Ants to serve as backup musicians for the event.
Bush said he meshed with the band from their first sound check.