Music Spotlight: Century Drive Band

Jul 17, 2023 at 11:43 am by Bethany Bowman

I get invited to see many bands and events in Nashville. One invite was to see the country-rock band, Century Drive at the NashHouse Southern Spoon and Saloon, the week of CMA Fest. By now, I should no longer be surprised at the caliber of talent on any given day in Nashville, but once again I was blown away. Though hailing from Bend, Oregon, this band was as tight and rocking as any southern rock band I have heard.

It turns out that there is a reason for this. Century Drive is a four-piece country-rock band comprising two sets of brothers, Corey and Casey Parnell and Chad and Lonnie Chapin. Sons of preachers, all grew up doing music in church which eventually led to a Pacific Northwest version of country and Americana rock.

Century Drive is a supergroup of sorts. Lonnie is the band's Grammy and Dove award-winning bassist and Gospel Music Hall Of Fame alum as a member of Petra. He also co-wrote the #1 hit song “If I Had To Die For Someone” for Christian rock band Petra before becoming a founding member of the Grammy-nominated band Tait with his brother Chad. Chad is a Grammy-nominated drummer, Dove award winner, twelve-time BMI Music award winner, and recipient of the legendary BMI Song Of The Year award for his song “To Ever Live Without Me.” Lead vocalist and songwriter Corey Parnell has shared stages with noteworthy artists Kris Kristofferson, Trace Adkins, and Lindsay Ell, and has co-written songs for Steve Fee and Shannon Bex of Danity Kane. His brother and lead guitarist Casey has recorded, written, and produced for Shannon Bex of MTV’s supergroup Danity Kane and Thunderstorm Artis of NBC’s The Voice.

Casey informed, “The pandemic really fueled the beginning of this band. We got together at Diamond Studios as a band and started writing.”

They thought, “Let’s just get together like we used to do in our garages when we were kids. Let’s band away at some songs.”

“Honestly magic came out of it. It was an amazing time,” recalled Casey.

I was surprised it took the guys this many years to figure out that they should be a band.

Casey quipped, “Us Parnell’s kept calling the Chapin’s and they never answered. We were persistent.”

But all joking aside, the four of them getting together was a natural organic process. They are two pairs of brothers but truly are all four brothers together. They care about each other and their families.

After releasing a string of singles which included “I Ain’t Got You” and “Loving in the Moment” the group debuted their sound on an EP in 2022 titled Staring at StarsThat project landed a spotlight on CMT and The Country Network in addition to profiles in MusicRow Magazine, AntiMusic, The Digital Journal, The Country Note, Country in the UK, The Bend Bulletin, News Break, Broadway World, Center Stage Magazine, etc. The title track was also featured on the official Academy of Country Music's New Music Friday Playlist alongside Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire, Maren Morris, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Chris Young. 

Formerly known as The Brethren, the band changed their name to honor their upbringing. Lonnie stated, “Century Drive is a stretch of roads that rips through the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. All four of us have history on that road. We grew up going snow skiing, water skiing, hunting, and fishing off that road. It’s one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the entire nation. When it came time to pick a name for us four preacher’s kids, it meant something to us. Nearly everyone has a place or road from their hometown that means something special to them. Century Drive is special to us.”

Since their debut EP, the band continues to release new music including the music video for “Wild Hearts, Wild Highways” which will be making its television broadcasting premiere on The Country Network this week. It is also available to us as well. 

Lonnie explained, “Right now we are writing the best stuff we have ever written. It’s got to get out there. When people hear it, it will change them. It will move them to an excitement. As songwriters, we want to push people to feel something. If we can get people to get rid of all the crazy s**t in their lives for just a minute and listen and feel something outside of themselves that is inspiring, they will become a fan and be a part of the Century Drive family. It’s amazing what a song can do.”

Yet to be released, their forthcoming song, “Preacher’s Daughter” was my favorite from the night I saw them. The song is a rocking, good time with an element of truth to which none of them would readily confess as being the inspiration. (See my TikTok link for a sample of the live show.)

Besides the storytelling and family harmonies that come naturally from growing up in the same place, the guys are celebrated as some of Nashville’s hottest songwriters. 

Number one hit songwriter Brian White exclaimed, “The first time I stepped in the room to write with Century Drive I knew something special was happening. The energy and vibe were simply contagious. Unbelievable musicians, great singers, and songs set the bar high. I'm a huge fan."

After seeing them in person, I get exactly what Brian White means. These guys know who they are and what they are about. Be sure to keep up with them on their socials and stream their music. And if you ever get the chance, go see them in person. Then you will be a forever fan like me.

You can follow Century Drive Band on InstagramFacebookTikTokSpotify, and all streaming platforms. 

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and Twitter.