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Bend gospel band scores record deal


Have you heard of the bands Elliot or Precious Byrd? They’re two separate groups, with the same core group of guys. Elliot is the gospel side of the band.

After an eight-year journey, they’re singing with excitement because they got a record deal with Universal Music Group.

“Just came at the right time, it was perfect,” bassist Lonnie Chapin said this week.

“I honestly did not expect it to happen; we kind of resigned ourselves to be an indie band for the rest of our lives,” said Corey Parnell, the lead singer.

Eight months ago, the boys played a performance in Ventura, California, which led to connections that paid off: a record deal for the gospel band, Elliot.

For one band member, this isn’t the first time.

“It was 2000, when I won my first Grammy for Rock Record of the Year,” Chapin said.

The fun didn’t stop there, because now it’s time for Round 2.

“Very seldom does a musician actually get to live out his dream,” Chapin said. “So for it to happen a second time — yeah, you’ve got to jump at that while you still have the chance.”

The boys that make up Elliot also frequent stages of various parties, weddings and other events as Precious Byrd.

“That’s just our chance to kind of cut loose and not worry so much about the art or the writing of it,” Parnell said.

But it’s Elliot that lights their fire.

“Our heart and our passion as musicians, with growing up in the church, has always been gospel music,” Chapin said.

Parnell added, “It’s fun to make music together with people that you love.”

It’s the love and support that made creating their record in just over a month possible.

“‘You need to write it, record it, and send it off,’ Chapin said they were told. “We were like, ‘You guys are crazy!'”

The band spent 19 to 20 hours a day in the studio.

“Our wives were banned, widows to the studio for that part of time,” Parnell said, “It was also super fun.”

The efforts paid off, and the record is complete.

“Music is a universal language, and we just want to be part of the universal conversation,” Parnell said.

The debut album, titled “Resolute,” will be released in May, but Central Oregonians get to have a first listen on Friday night at 10 Below in the Oxford Hotel.

The event starts at 7 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

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