Guy Penrod is in every sense of the word a man cut from the cloth of rugged individualism.
Never is this more evident than in the tracks of his first solo country album project, BREATHE DEEP. It's more than a collection of thirteen new songs, it's the creative thumbprint of a man with strong values and a positive worldview that harkens back to deep roots in faith and family.
His well-publicized departure in recent months after 14 years as a centerpiece of Bill Gaither's celebrated "Vocal Band" was not a move for the faint of heart - nor for a man less sure that he's tracking on a right course set for new horizons.
With the launch of BREATHE DEEP, Guy 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 notes. "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 the best genres of music from which to tell the American story."
Born in Abilene, Texas, the son of a preacher, Guy 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 nurtured the gift of music growing up by singing in church and school and recalls his mom and dad 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, Virginia. 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.
Guy Penrod is no stranger to country music. He's just a country boy who grew up to become a major voice - first in Nashville's creative scene 'behind the scenes' - and later center stage as a major name in Southern Gospel. During the early 90s, 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 Guy 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."
"The closest definition I've found for my music is life music," he explains. "I don't presume that everyone lives the same lifestyle. I have my wife, Angie, who's been the love of my life for twenty-five years, and we have eight wonderful kids, seven boys and one girl ages eighteen down to four that we homeschool. 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."