Former member of the celebrated Bill Gaither Vocal Band returns to his country roots on new solo album ‘Breathe Deep’
From staff reports
Guy Penrod is in every sense of the word a man cut from the cloth of rugged individualism.
And never has this been more evident than in the tracks of his first solo country album, “Breathe Deep,” which is more than just a collection of 13 new songs — it’s the creative thumbprint of a man with strong values and a positive world view that harkens back to deep roots in faith and family.
Penrod will perform at 7 p.m., Nov. 17 at Bristol’s Paramount Center for the Arts. Tickets range from $20 to $27.
Penrod’s well-publicized departure in recent months as a centerpiece of Bill Gaither’s celebrated “Vocal Band” was not a move for the faint of heart.
With the launch of “Breathe Deep,” Penrod will tell you he’s not looking to change the face of country music — only to bring a new perspective to its best attributes.
And to the question, “Is this a new Guy Penrod?” there’s a short answer.
“I haven’t changed a lick. I just wanted a fresh wrapper,” he said. “What’s ‘new’ is the perspective that the music is fresh and different from what I was doing with the Vocal Band. I wanted the new album to kick it out there in a little bigger pond. I believe that country is one of the best genres of music from which to tell the American story.”
Born in Abilene, Texas, the son of a preacher, Penrod grew up in church with a desire to somehow impact the world.
“I learned pretty early in life that music was a good vehicle for me,” he said.
Growing up, Penrod nurtured his musical gifts by singing in church and school, and recalls his parents telling him the story of how they stood him up in a folding chair as a 3-year-old for his debut solo of “Fill My Cup Lord.”
From there, the powerful voice that would grow through experiences in school plays and singing with local groups and theater productions, would lead subsequently to graduation with a vocal scholarship to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
He took a job teaching voice at a private school in Georgia before opting a year later to head back into vocal performance and move to Nashville.
Penrod is no stranger to country music. He’s just a country boy who grew up to become a major voice, first “behind the scenes” in Nashville’s creative scene and later center stage as a major name in Southern Gospel.
During the early 1990s, he was an in-demand session singer in Nashville working in the studio with the biggest names in both country and gospel music.
TNN’s “Music City Tonight” subsequently introduced Penrod to wider national audiences as part of the vocal quartet that appeared nightly on the live 90-minute telecast.
“I got to sing behind some of the great legends of country music who I grew up listening to, as well as backing new artists like Kenny Chesney and Shania Twain at a point when their careers were just launching,” he said.
“The closest definition I’ve found for my music is life music. I don’t presume that everyone lives the same lifestyle. I have my wife, Angie, who’s been the love of my life for 25 years, and we have eight wonderful kids — seven boys and one girl — ages 4 to 18 that we home-school. I live in the country on a farm in a log house and drive a tractor and a Ford F-350. As a family we’ve tried to put God at the center of our lives, and we’ve found peace even in the middle of life’s storms.
“Those listening to the new music may live in Manhattan in a high rise and go to work in a limo, but at the end of the day, ‘life is life’ and we all have joys and heartaches as well as similar basic needs and desires. I hope that folks everywhere will identify with the songs on ‘Breathe Deep.’ ”
To order tickets for Penrod’s upcoming concert at the Paramount, call (423) 274-8920 or visit www.etix.com .