How Our Acoustic Duo Came to Be (Part 1)


"Corey, Whitney, why on earth are you taking on another music project? Where do you find the time?" 

These are commonly asked question, and we totally understand why. We are, self-admittedly, a tad bit confusing, especially if you've known us for awhile. On an average weekend, you might see Corey rocking on stage at a Precious Byrd concert, where thousands of people literally worship the ground he walks on and dance their butts off to the most incredible Prince and Beyonce covers you've ever heard. Chances are good that on that very same weekend, you'll see Corey leading church worship with a band of (amazing) volunteers, to a crowd of a few thousand people (or he might be playing drums or piano or bass or electric...maybe even the zylophone from time to time). Continue on to Monday and you'll find me (Whitney) producing video marketing commercials for local and national brands with my friends at The NW Collective...not a not busy job, to say the least (with as many negatives as possible). Aside from those ventures, we're equally mystifying because you really won't see us around town much on our "off" time. We hang at home with our two boys, or we're with family or close friends, because we're actually relatively introverted, the two of us. I know, sometimes we forget we're introverts, too.  ;)

So, what could have possibly led us to believe that we A. had some spare time in our lives for gigs, B. wanted to be out and about more than we already are, or C. should be using Corey's voice of gold in yet another musical venture? Aside from the obvious conclusion that we're completely insane, there are a few good reasons. I'll tackle one of them now, but this post is getting rather long already, so I'm gonna do the next reasons another day.  Here it is, folks.

OUR RELATIONSHIP. All around us, seemingly healthy, unshakeable relationships have been falling apart for the last few years. And you know what? We're not entirely surprised. There's nothing like marriage to take you by the shoulders, put you in front of a mirror, and shout "YOU'VE NEVER KNOWN HOW SELFISH YOU REALLY ARE BECAUSE YOU'RE WAY TOO SELFISH TO SEE IT." Marriage is tough. We get it. It hasn't been made easier by having kids, because it tends to separate Corey and I when we could've gone and done certain things together before having the boys. Oh, and the sheer volume in our home alone makes it hard to hear each other talk. It hasn't been made easier by losing a home in the financial crash, or buying a home that needed more work than we thought, or losing my dad from a horrific disease 2 1/2 years ago, or by watching precious, dear friends go through the hell of divorce. I digress. Back to the original question. How do these acoustic gigs help our marriage?

Answer: playing at a restaurant or bar or coffee shop gives us vitally important ingredients to make a really wonderful, built-in date night.  And those ingredients are... 

  1. Time to be together without our kids. This allows us to use our brains to think. So hot. ;) 
  2. Free food and drinks! Again, super hot.
  3. Romance. It gives us the chance to sing love songs together and remind us how we fell in love and why we stay in love. We will literally tell each other things we love about one another in the middle of songs, and it takes us back to the beginning of our romance like nothing else ever has.

I know there are stronger relationships than ours that haven't made it, and that a simple date night is no novel concept, but for us right now, the intentionality is what serves us. Intentionally viewing these gigs as a chance to fall in love again.

In the next post I'll get into the specifics of why we love country music, but for now, I'll leave you with this. We saw a chance to tackle a project together that brought more joy and love into our lives, and so far, it's doing exactly that. And who doesn't need more joy and more love in their life?

QUESTION: What's the project that you've taken on that's brought the most joy to your life? Did you know it would add joy to your life, or were you surprised by it??

Whitney Parnell

Hi, I'm Whitney! I love my work as an administrator for Westside Church and The Well Conference. I live in Bend OR, arguably the most beautiful city in America, and I do life with my husband, Corey Parnell and our gorgeous son, Greyson. I am an unofficial advocate for people with ALS as my dad, Steve Stern, fights the horrid disease. I've developed a business called Clarion Personal Management to help authors, speakers and artists manage their events as their virtual executive assistant. I am a pretty fast driver, and my breakfast of choice is biscuits and gravy.