BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Guy Penrod: Breathe Deep
By Hannah Goodwyn
Known for his baritone voice and work as a member of the church-crowd popular Gaither Vocal Band, for which he was a part for nearly a decade and a half, Guy Penrod has done quite a bit in Christian music. Now, he’s solo, striking out into the world of country music with his latest album, Breathe Deep, hoping to spread a little of God’s truth in a music world that touches millions around the world.
Recently, Guy Penrod sat down with CBN.com to chat about what lead him to venture off into a solo career, why he’s going country, and what he wants his music on Breathe Deep to accomplish.
Why Guy Penrod left the Gaithers…
“Well, [it was] 14 years working very hard within the context of the Gaither Vocal Band and the videos that we had going, very intense, a lot of hard work, a lot of fun, and a lot of purpose… I made family type relationships not just work type relationships, so [it was] very, very close-knit bunch of folks that I love and still interact with on a very consistent basis… It was complex with regard to that and specific, because it’s not like a leaving; it’s just a redirection with regard to the bulk of my time.”
“I’m not a great multi-tasker. Really that’s about the best abbreviated version I can give you; I’m not a good multi-tasker, and I have to just focus on one thing at a time. And I guess probably one of the driving, determining factors is the season in life I’m in. I’m raising teens at this point and starting to see them out into the world, graduating our first senior and all of those college things coming. And I’m just very driven and concerned by the world we’re turning them out into. They’re facing so many challenges these days that I didn’t face in my day coming up like that. I had a real sense of wanting to engage the culture that we’re in, and while we were in my tenure with the Gaithers, having good impact in the culture to some degree, mostly the church culture I think there.
Moving beyond the church-going crowd…
“What I wanted to do was to take a biblical Christian world view, which is how my wife Angie and I live our lives, and obviously the Gaithers also, but I had a desire to wrap it in a vernacular that was maybe a little more story form and every day, as far as the way we expressed our Christianity. And wrap it with country music; I love country music.”
Guy Penrod’s love for country music…
“I grew up on it and just wanted to all my life make a country record. But I didn’t want to do a stereotypical country record, you know. We’ve had the risk of offending people; [country music] has gotten a nickname at times of just drinking, cheating music. And I don’t mean to offend anyone, but sorry, if the shoe fits put it on. And I just think that country has a lot more to offer than that; country’s a mindset. It’s not where you live or how tough you are, or how much you can drink, or how rough your life may have been, but rather it’s a story of salt-of-the-earth, hardworking people, whether they live in Chicago or whether they live in Abilene, Texas…just honest hardworking folks, the people that make this country what it is. If it wasn’t for that grouping of people, this country wouldn’t be what it is. And I think that is a beautiful story, and I wanted to approach that story just strictly from a biblical perspective so that we could lift up truth.
Breathe Deep, Guy Penrod’s countrified truth…
“…rather than being against something, I’d rather be for something. So the first song on the record is for marriage. The next song is for prayer, and the next one is for communication with our kids, called “Are You the One?” The next one is “Every Saint”, which the point is every saint has a past, every center has a future. “For Mercy”, you know on and on, but in story form so that I could understand it, to be quite honest. I am pretty simple from that perspective and the story communicates to me quicker than a text book most of the time.”
Guy Penrod takes on the “myth of retirement”…
“There’s a lot of lies just running, ramping in our culture nowadays. I’ll hit one that I bet you wouldn’t expect me to say: the myth of retirement. Retirement is a myth. There is nowhere in the scripture that you’ll see God, or Jesus, or any of the writers of scripture tell us to retire. There’s no plan for it. And yet it’s summoned its roots deep into our culture and into our churches.”
The “myth of quality time”…
“I’ll tell you another one, the myth of quality time. That’s a myth. You can’t schedule quality time, I now know because of experience... I’m kind of hard-headed, so it takes me running into a wall to figure that out. But when I say to my six year old boy, ‘Hey son, I’ve got three hours on Friday afternoon, and we’re going to go get a dip of ice cream and hit some golf balls, or go to the swing set,’ or whatever. And I have this vision in my mind of what it should be in order to be quality, and invariably it wasn’t. It would turn into one little mishap after the other, and who knows, and before long your time is gone. Quality happens within the context of quantity, so again we’re forced to choose what’s your priority. Is it to put away for the 41k and spend the extra eight hours in the work week at the office, or are you going to go ahead and invest in your kids now?
Sex in our society…
How about sexuality? Our culture is absolutely on fire. I’m talking about the bad kind that burns a house down as far as our kids facing their sexuality, as they grow up and go into adulthood. And if we don’t hold up a biblical model that works, within the context of marriage and abstaining until then, and someone doesn’t stand up and say that, who’s going to?
What’s another one? Excess, just in general. And you could put any word after that, excess this, that, the other. It all leads to destruction at one point. You know, culturally, you could go in a plethora of choices there, as far as what you engage the culture with.... And I think that the most effective way to do it is just to lift up truth, and I think it’s more effective to say what you’re for and then lead someone to that. Because what you’re against, I mean you’re going to get knocked around all day long for saying, “Well I ain’t for this, that and the other thing….” You just go out and make enemies.
Guy’s sees a culture ready to turn to God…
In my opinion, as God ramps up the air around us, and what I mean by that is let’s take the financial boondoggle that happened here in our country two years ago… I see that as God saying, ‘OK, who’s building is your ladder leaning against? Is it leaning against your company? How about GM, is that where your security is? Is it in your 401K?’ And He’s just saying, ‘No, that’s not where it’s at, it’s in me.’ As people come to points of need in their life, they’re going to turn to answers. And I think what we’re going to be seeing, and we see in our culture everyday and I think more and more as time progresses, is the need factor is going to come further and further up. Those of us that are holding out a cup of cold water, truth to them, and we go to them, and we don’t pre-qualify and make them have to get good before we go help. We go help. And it is in the helping that then their wall comes down and they say, ‘Now, tell me about you.’ They’re open to your ideas at the point that you’ve helped them.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.
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