Praise Band drummer credits God for his talent

Not many people can praise God by savagely beating sticks on tanned animal hide, but Layton Elscott isn’t your typical drummer.

Elscott recently competed in the Guitar Center Drum Off and made it to the store finals with four other drummers.

“I was playing up against some pretty talented guys and unfortunately I didn’t make it past that,” Elscott said. “The top two guys had gone up to the regionals, which is just one step down from the nationals. So it was a pretty tough competition.”

Elscott is also the drummer in the praise band Vertical Soul. He said the name of the band comes from the idea that God loves everyone and everyone has the ability to grow, spiritually.

“Obviously I’m a very modern day Christian,” Elscott said. “Everybody has room to grow in their faith and religion. You’re never too far or too close.”

Elscott said he’s been playing the drums since he was 3 years old and fell into it when he started listening to his dad, who was a huge influence. When he was just a toddler, he was given his own junior drum set.

“I’ve been actually playing for 17 years. I’m only 20 years old, believe it or not,” Elscott said. “From what my parents said, I got right on and just took it right up. Taking on the drums has been a natural thing for me so it just kind of progressed over the years.”

Elscott said it’s not all just talent and experience. He said he spends a lot of time evaluating his style and incorporating new things into his style. Aside from growing up and having drumming ingrained in his genetics, Elscott believes his skill on the sticks is a gift from God and is a way he can give back.

“There’s certain things that people do that’s an acquired skill and go have lessons, and you practice your tail end off. You might turn out great, you might not,” Elscott said. “People have watched me play. They’ve said it’s not necessary a skill or a talent, but it’s more of a gift.”

Elscott currently isn’t in college because he’s pursuing his musical abilities. He said if he ever pursues high education, he would go into criminal justice or law enforcement, but currently he’s letting the music side of his life unravel.

“God gave me this gift, and I’m willing to give him all of the credit,” Elscott said. “I give God 100 percent of the glory.”

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.