There’s this guy who’s doing something special for Father’s Day – not for himself, but for fathers and families everywhere. You don’t want to miss it. If you don’t recognize the guy’s name but you know just a little about the last three decades of classic/gospel/country/contemporary/traditional Christian music, you’ll almost certainly remember his voice.
His name? Well, the guy’s name is … well, it’s Guy. Guy Penrod.
In the early 1990s, at around age 30, he and his wife Angie decided to follow his dream. They took a risk and moved to Nashville “to see if I could make a living singing for my supper,” he says.
It turns out, he’s made a living and carved out a pretty good name for himself. Prior to his current solo ministry, he spent 14 years with the Gaither Vocal Band. He sang at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Think of that – one vocalist, one opportunity, once every four years!
What moves him to celebrate Father’s Day? For one thing, he’s a father. Just ask Tyler, Logan, Joe, Jesse, Levi, Grayson, Zach, and Lacey. That’s right, seven young men and one beautiful princess ranging in age from 28 down to 14. You could say he knows the ropes, the ups and downs, the challenges, the joys, the importance of fathers.
So, the June 21 “Concert on the Couch: A Fathers’ Day Celebration from Franklin Theatre” is one way he figures he can use his God-given talent to give back, to honor God, and to encourage families. (see the end of blog for more information)
“The last few months have been a challenging time for us all,” says Penrod. “I couldn’t think of a better way to reconnect with so many friends around the world than spending Father’s Day evening together.”
To prepare for the concert this weekend, go to guypenrod.com and listen to a few of his tunes. You can get a free taste of his latest album titled Blessed Assurance, a collection of traditional hymns. Yet, he majors in variety, with a delivery that embraces a rich, true country sound. But calm, contemporary worship songs find moving expression in his more restrained delivery. Then his explosive vocals reach notes higher than he should be able to reach. I believe the man could sing opera!
On Father’s Day, he’ll sing some of the church’s favorite old hymns such as “Nothing but the Blood,” “I Surrender All,” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” But he’ll also sing some that have become favorites at his concerts, for example, “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor.”
Making ‘life music’
“I want to make ‘life music,’’ Penrod says, “music that would encourage you in everyday life, music that talks about life and the human condition.” His storytelling gift shines in these songs. You’ll understand when you hear him sing about Jesse Taylor’s baptism:
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.
A few years ago, I had the privilege to interview Penrod in Nashville for the AFA Journal. That’s when I discovered his album titled Breathe Deep, on which he tackles tough issues – pornography, parenting, abstinence, and more. These songs reveal just how perfectly his father’s heart and his lyrics dovetail seamlessly in life-music messages that entertain, challenge, and encourage all at the same time.
In “Are You the One?” he sings about raising godly boys:
Somebody’s gonna show him what love looks like
Tell him what’s wrong and right
Are you the one?
And how does a dad raise a princess?
Are you the one who’s gonna have that talk
Where she turns red and you’re shell shocked?
Or will you leave it up to some stranger
Somebody is gonna reach her while she’s young
Are you the one?
Being a father
In his interview with AFA Journal, we talked a lot about faith and fatherhood. He said one of the most important things he learned from his dad, a pastor, is the importance of soul-winning. “I remember going up and down the blocks of the streets in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I remember hearing him say, ‘Good morning, my name is Joe Penrod … and I want to talk to you about your soul.’”
“I believe that there really is a God who really loves us, and that prayer is a real thing,” he said. “It works. If we just take the time to talk to the One who made us, He has a plan for us. I find that as I tend to lay my worrying and my fretting aside and talk to God about it, His peace comes, and direction comes. Doors open.”
Yes, he has a life-music song for it, “Pray About Everything:”
Pressure’s on, the margin’s thin
Gotta figure out a fix for this awful fix I’m in
Oh, Mama, what am I gonna do?
Don’t worry’ bout nothin’
Pray about everything.
Penrod also believes in heeding advice from trusted friends. One such friend observed Penrod’s busy concert and recording schedule and warned: “If you’re not careful, you’re going to miss your life, going fast and trying to schedule ‘quality time’ with your kids. Quality time, son, is a myth. Quality happens in quantity.
He said he and his wife want to change the culture his kids are growing up in. But then he immediately turned the spotlight on his own family. “We realized that it’s character issues that would mold our kids into who they are,” he said. “We’re helping mold their character in our home, so that’s a day-in, day-out parental challenge.
Believe in God. Don’t worry about life’s curveballs. Listen to trusted friends. Depend on prayer. Experience God’s peace and direction. Those are bedrock principles by which this Guy navigates fatherhood.
Editor’s Note: Hear Guy Penrod in “Concert on the Couch: A “Father’s Day Celebration from Franklin Theatre” livestreamed June 21 at 6:00 p.m. CT. Virtual doors open an hour earlier, and he promises to announce an expansion of his ministry. Register at guypenrod.com for an online viewing pass. A $5 gift is suggested to Penrod’s nonprofit ministry.