Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Guy Allen Penrod was born on July 2, 1963 in Taylor, Texas. He became famous as part of the Gaither Vocal Band for several years. In 2009 he released his solo country debut BREATHE DEEP. In 2011 he was inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Other solo albums he's put out include 2012's HYMNS and 2017's CLASSICS. Fast forward to 2018 and he's got a brand new album entitled BLESSED ASSURANCE (Servant Records). His bio says: "Guy chose these hymns because of their power to touch and renew your soul". The album was produced by Guy and Jonathan Crone and executive produced by Guy.
1. Starting things off is Fanny Crosby and Phoebe P. Knapp's classic hymn 'Blessed Assurance'. Briana Tyson sings background vocals on this laid back, tender song of testimony: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine/Oh what a foretaste of glory divine/Heir of salvation, purchase of God/Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood/This is my story, this is my song/Praising my Savior, all the day long".
2. Wanda Vick Burchfield plays fiddle, dobro, and mandolin on the Celtic ballad 'Before the Throne of God Above'. It speaks of a believer realizing his true identity: "When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within/Upward I look and see Him there/Who made an end of all my sin/Because the sinless Savior died/My sinful soul is counted free/For God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me/To look on Him and pardon me".
3. Lewis E. Jones wrote the jubilant 'There is Power in the Blood'. Gary Lunn plays bass and Jason Ahlbrandt is great on electric guitar on this upbeat country version that speaks of spiritual purity: "Would you be whiter much whiter than snow?/There's power in the blood, power in the blood/Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow/There's wonderful power in the blood/Oh, there is power, power, wonder working power/In the blood of the Lamb/There is power, power, wonder working power/In the precious blood of the Lamb (2X)".
4. 'The Love of God' is a sentimental and poetic country ballad: "The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell/It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell/The guilty pair bowed down with care/God gave His Son to win/His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from His sin/Oh love of God how rich and pure/How measureless and strong/It shall forevermore endure/The saints and angels song".
5. Sanford F. Bennett and Joseph P. Webster wrote 'In the Sweet By and By'. It's a soothing country song about heaven: "We shall sing on that beautiful shore/The melodious songs of the blessed/And our spirits shall sorrow no more/Not a sigh for the blessing of rest/In the sweet by and by/We shall meet on that beautiful shore".
6. 'Standing in the Need of Prayer' is a catchy, upbeat African-American spiritual on which Lindell Cooley plays organ and Briana Tyson and Nickie Conley provide backing vocals. It's a song of spiritual admission: "Not my brother or my sister but it's me O Lord standing in the need of prayer/I need You Jesus/I need You every hour/I just can't do it/I need Your Holy Ghost power/That's why I'm standing here/Standing in the need of prayer/Not my preacher or my teacher but it's me O Lord/Standing in the need of prayer".
7. Tyler Smith is responsible for String Programming and piano on the pretty ballad 'I Surrender All'. It is one of spiritual submission and desire: "All to Jesus I surrender, make me Savior wholly Thine/Let me feel the Holy Spirit/Truly know that Thou art mine/I surrender all, I surrender all/All to Thee my blessed Savior/I surrender all/All to Jesus I surrender, Lord I give myself to Thee/Fill me with Thy love and power/Let Thy blessings fall on me".
8. William R. Featherston and Adoniram J. Gordon wrote 'My Jesus, I Love Thee', a song of spiritual dedication: "My Jesus I love Thee/I know Thou art mine/For Thee all the follies of sin I resign/My gracious redeemer/My Savior art Thou/If ever I loved Thee/My Jesus 'tis now.../I love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death/And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath/And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow/If ever I love Thee, my Jesus 'tis now".
9. 'In the Garden' is mellow and contains this familiar chorus of comfort: "And He walks with me and He talks with me/And He tells me I am His own/And the joy we share as we tarry there/None other has ever known".
10. 'Draw Me Nearer' is presented in light country mode here. On it, Guy longs for spiritual intimacy with His Lord: "Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord/To the cross where Thou hast died/Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord/To Thy precious bleeding side/Oh the pure delight of a single hour/That before Thy throne I spend/When I kneel in prayer and with Thee my God/I commune as friend with friend".
11. Karolina W. Sandell-Berg and Oskar Ahnfelt wrote 'Day by Day'. Jonathan Crone plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keys, and provides backing vocals. Here are some of the lyrics: "Every day the Lord Himself is near me/With a special mercy for each hour/All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me/He whose Name is counselor and power/The protection of His child and treasure/Is a charge that Himself He laid/As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure/This the pledge to me He made".
12. Closing things out is a toe-tapping country version of 'I Will Sing of My Redeemer' which finds Guy testifying: "I will sing of my Redeemer and His heavenly love for me/He from death to life has brought me/Son of God, with Him to be/Oh sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer/With His blood He purchased me/On the cross He sealed my pardon/Paid the debt and made me free".
BLESSED ASSURANCE contains six fast paced songs and six slower paced songs which makes for a nice mix. Musically, eight of the songs fall into the country category and four fall into the easy listening basket. Guy's vocals are great and if you are a fan of the vocal stylings of Clay Crosse and Russ Taff I think you`ll like this project. The importance of having an intimate, personal relationship with God is the main theme on this record. That relationship is made possible by Jesus shedding His blood and dying for our sins on the cross at Calvary, and overcoming death. These songs praise God and anticipate the believer`s heavenly home, which is heaven. I`m rating BLESSED ASSURANCE 90 %. I might have given it an even higher mark had Guy thrown in an original song or two. At any rate, for more info visit: www.guypenrod.com or look him up on facebook.