Sunday, April 15, 2018
Guy Allen Penrod was born on July 2, 1963 in Taylor, Texas. He grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico where his father was a pastor at Temple Baptist Church. Guy is a graduate of Liberty University. In the 1980's as a studio singer he sang backup for the likes of Carman, Amy Grant, and Garth Brooks. In 1994 Guy joined the Gaither Vocal Band. In 2009 he left and released his solo debut BREATHE DEEP, a country record. Fast forward to 2017 and he released CLASSICS (Servant/Gaither Music Group). In the liner notes he writes: "I'm glad to have had the chance to sing these songs with the GVB and am really excited to put them together now as a solo collection".
1. First up is 'Singing with the Saints', an upbeat country number that looks forward with glee to heaven: "I'll be singin' with the saints at the morning light/Ringin' in the day 'cause there is no night/Sayin' goodbye to the heartache, trouble, and pain/I'll be sittin' at the throne with an angel band/Shoutin' 'Hallelujah!' to the great I Am/If you think it's a dream/Well, it ain't/I'll be singing' with the saints".
2. 'Loving God, Loving Each Other' is an easy listening ballad penned by William J. and Gloria Gaither that reminds us what is important in life: "It's not complicated/Don't need a lot of rules/This is all you'll need to know/Loving God, loving each other/Making music with my friends/Loving God, loving each other/And the story never ends".
3. 'Alpha and Omega' is a joyful praise and worship song that exalts Jesus Christ: "He is the Alpha and Omega/The Beginning and the End/The Son of God, The King of kings/Lord of lords, He's everything/Messiah, Jehovah/The Prince of Peace is He/The Son of man, seed of Abraham/Second person in the Trinity".
4. Suzanne Jennings and Michael Sykes wrote 'Knowing You'll Be There', a decidedly sentimental country ballad: "I see you most at Christmas/You were like a little kid/You always loved a good surprise and now I must admit/That I long more for Heaven than I ever did before/You give me one more reason/And each day I want it more.../Knowing I won't be alone/Knowing you'll be there makes it easy to go home".
5. 'The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference' is a powerful ballad that finds Guy testifying: "'Twas a life filled with aimless desperation/Without hope walked the shell of a man/But then a hand with a nail print stretched downward/Just one touch and a new life began/And the old rugged cross made the difference/In a life bound for heartache and defeat/I will praise Him forever and ever/For the cross made the difference for me!"
6. Bruce Hibbard, Hadley Hockensmith, and Michael Omartian wrote 'I'm Forgiven'. It's a lively Christian pop song that again, testifies: "I'm forgiven/Now I have a reason for living/Jesus keeps giving and giving/Giving till my heart overflows/I'm forgiven/Now I have a reason for living/Jesus keeps giving and giving/Giving till my heart overflows/I know this love You've placed in my heart/Is a love that will never depart/Sin brought me here to the end of my rope/But now You've given me a brand new hope, yeah".
7. The adult contemporary ballad 'Count on Me', follows. It includes these words of commitment: "I may not have the answers to the questions that you face/I may not be the one to drive away your fears/My list of imperfections is too long to erase/But you have my word, I will be here/Count on me/In this world of shifting sand/Count on me/When you need a steady hand/I will work and pray/Mean what I say/And live unselfishly/Right the wrong, standing strong/You can count on me".
8. 'Yes, I Know' is an easy listening ballad that begins with these words of spiritual invitation and testimony: "Come ye sinners, lost and lonely/Jesus' blood can make you free/For He saved the worst among you/When He saved a wretch like me/And I know, yes, I know/Jesus' blood can make the vilest sinner clean/And I know, yes, I know/Jesus' blood can make the vilest sinner clean".
9. 'Then Came the Morning' is a beautiful song on which Chris Christian is a co-writer. The chorus speaks of Jesus' resurrection: "Then came the morning, night turned into day/The stone was rolled away/Hope rose with the dawn/Then came the morning/Shadows vanished before the Son/Death had lost and life had won/For morning had come".
10. Dallas Frazier and Sanger D. Shafer wrote the classic country story song 'The Baptism of Jesse Taylor'. Here's the chorus: "They baptized Jesse Taylor in Cedar Creek last Sunday/Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good right arm/They all cried 'Hallelujah!' when Jesse's head went under/'Cause this time he went under for the Lord".
11. Paul Evans wrote 'Build an Ark' which here has a Caribbean feel to it and sounds like a children's song. These words paint a picture of utopia: "My father and my mother, my sisters and my brothers/All of the friends I care about/And the woman that I've learned to love/I'll gather them together/And promise them forever/We'll be safe from the world around us/All we have to do is to love each other".
12. Last up is the Gaither classic 'Because He Lives'. It is a song that offers great hope: "An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives/And because He lives I can face tomorrow/Because He lives all fear is gone/Because I know He holds the future/And life is worth the living/Just because He lives".
CLASSICS was produced by Guy Penrod, engineered by Pete Greene, and mastered by Glenn Meadows. Background vocals are skillfully provided by Russell Terrell and Tania Hancheroff. The two main musical genres here are easy listening and country, but there are others as I have documented above. There are seven faster paced songs and five slower ones. Guy makes it clear that he has been forgiven of his sins and been saved because of his belief in and acceptance of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Guy looks forward to the day when he enters heaven to be in the presence of God and loved ones. While still on this planet Guy aims to love God and love others as much as he possibly can. The vocals on this album are superb! I'm rating CLASSICS 95%. For more info visit: www.guypenrod.com or connect with him on facebook.