Music artist Guy Penrod might best be known for his time with the Gaither Vocal Band, as an inductee in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and a member of the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame. His soulful vocal style (which edges into the country music genre) has fueled a stellar solo career and thriving ministry. Having toured the world and held the stage at legendary venues such as the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, and the Sydney Opera House, Guy’s music and ministry have not just influenced the industry, they have become effective and compelling tools of evangelism.
However, it is the roles he holds as husband, father, and grandfather where Guy truly seems most at home. It’s this love for his own family and the family of God that impassions his music and ministry. I chatted with Guy recently about his special Father’s Day “Concert on the Couch,” which streams on Sunday, June 21st at 7 p.m. ET, and his most important piece of fatherly advice.
Guy Penrod! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. How are you and your family doing?
You know, we’re doing wonderfully. We live out in the country in small-town America south of Nashville, And quite frankly, it was a removed situation for us. We didn’t have any cases in our county, to my knowledge. Besides the inconveniencing with certain businesses, things that couldn’t be open and all, it was pretty much life as normal at our house. A big family, you know, when you’re all here together – we just used it as an excuse to hang out, eat too much – I put on my Covid weight here. That’s the biggest negative, as well as not being able to gather at church.
Our church is going to meet for the first time this coming week. We had a parking lot service last week. It was fun. People brought lawn chairs and all, and they’re there this thing. And then we played worship outside in the parking lot and used my sound system and our band did some music and pastor brought a great word.
I have to tell you, I’ve been looking up your social media and I enjoyed the most hilarious moment watching your “Wash Your Tractor” video. That’s the best quarantine advice I’ve ever seen!
Haha, yeah, I was down on a place on our farm which used to be where my mother lived, but she passed in 2007. And I was out there washing the tractor just because the pressure washer was down there and [my son] comes out with his phone and he’s like, ‘Dad, we’ve got to put this on your page!’ Honestly, I’m so ignorant with that stuff, and I never think to do anything. It was just kind of off the cuff.
So let’s talk about this upcoming Father’s Day “Concert on the Couch.” How did this idea come about?
You know, well, everyone in our industry has been concerned about ‘How do we go about gathering?’ And obviously as artists, that’s a big portion of what we do. We get in the studio and make music. But if you can’t get it out there then it can’t be an encouragement or uplifting and it doesn’t accomplish its purpose unless it’s heard. Touring is a big part of every musician’s world. We were the first ones really that got shut down as far as being able to do that portion of our work. And we’ll probably be the last ones to get back to work as well. So everyone was kind of running around with their hair on fire, ‘I wonder what they’re gonna do here?’ We had several different friends who suggested this sort of an outlet, online, virtual concerts.
We had some good friends who developed a platform for a real high-quality stream. Where you don’t have glitching and audio issues and pixelation and such. Once they developed and got everything up and running they called and said, ‘Hey, would you be one of the first?’ It’s in the Franklin Theater in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a really cool theater and it looks really neat. It was funny because they had a set-up completely turned around from what it would normally be. The band set up and played to the back wall.
The audience is empty, obviously because of the restrictions. So there’s no one in the audience and we used that as a backdrop and it’s just beautiful. The lighting was fabulous, and we got to play and sing and talk to a wall, essentially, and cameras, but knowing that there are people looking. So the idea was, ‘What better seat than your own couch for a concert?’ We have the technology to do it are pulling it off. We’re just real excited about the event.
That is so cool, because Father’s Day is going to look different this year.
Yeah, people can at least have their close family around. The little slogan that we use is ‘Attend From Anywhere.’ We just loved the idea that it’s Father’s Day and we can worship the heavenly Father on that particular day together. That’s cool.
You just reserve your online viewing pass at guypenrod.com, and then there’s an opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation to Guy Penrod Ministries. Really, our hope is to make a serious mark in the music industry because we believe all music ought to come out of a biblical view for living life. The party songs, the love songs, the story songs, feel good songs, worship songs – everything for life and godliness is found in the Word. And so His people ought to be creating that content because it’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t leave you hung over, doesn’t leave you in a bad way. The stuff that we ingest, if you end up acting on a lot of that stuff, it creates a lot of heartaches. It’s our vision with our ministry to continue to sign artists and make a real impact in the publishing world, and in the artist’s world too. You know, the old terminology was “crossover.” My terminology would be “takeover.” We want to take it over. We don’t want to just cross over.
None of us look to another source until we need. So our need, whatever it may be, is usually what drives us to a source to meet that need – when you’re hungry, the refrigerator is the source. When you are sleepy, you go to the bed, you know? The Bible says that even the enemy, Satan, is the unwilling servant of Jehovah. So I’m not one of these that says, this is some kind of plague from God or judgment…But these are days of grace and mercy on the earth. This is an evil thing. It’s part of the fall and it’s part of the attack, and we are to push into that kind of stuff, not run from it.
This virus and this worldwide shut down has forced people to see their need. I mean, at the very least you need some sort of protection against an unseen enemy. And so man has done everything – science and technology and education and medicine – to try to give us safety. But the true safety lies in the Creator of the universe and His son, Jesus. We have to lift that up in the times of need. That’s when you see people are more receptive. These are things that our ministry is currently in development with, is speaking the truth. The gospel is a big message. It’s not ‘churchy’ kinds of expressions, right? We tend to associate the word gospel with music or expressions or colloquialisms or vernacular. It truly is the good news and everything for living by. I’m not one that says we should sneak Jesus into someone. We should just be bold and say, “This is the answer. This is the way – walk ye in it. It is life. It is joy, peace. In Him is safety, in Him is protection, in Him is health.” It’s a great time to be a believer and alive and filled with the spirit of the Lord right now, because truly those fields are white and we just need to fully carry the love and grace of the Lord out into the culture and lift an eye. Then the word tells us He will draw all men to Him.
Your family is growing, and I saw you just posted a gender reveal for your next grandbaby. What do you think is the best fatherly advice you’ve ever given to your own children over the years?
I think, it’s pretty obvious as you parent, the things that you want to emphasize as you rear kids. I say one of the more powerful things we can do or that my wife has done in our parenting role is to be transparent with our kids. It’s a bit messy, to be frank with you, because if you’re transparent, it’s all out there, and so it can be a little messy. I was raised in the time when if there was any kind of conflict, your folks went behind bedroom doors to deal with conflict. And I do believe there are occasions for privacy, don’t get me wrong, but there is also a place where the privacy becomes an excuse for hiding if you’re not careful.
One thing our kids have seen from me at least is that as a father is, I’m not perfect. There was only one of those, and thank the Father, He allowed Him to come and save us. They have seen us go through the challenges that life brings. We have done, I believe, a lot of things right. And we have some wonderful godly kids that love Jesus. But you’re rearing doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be derailing on the way or blindsides with folks getting taken off their feet. Because are at war, there’s an enemy working against our souls. And so as we have failed and succeeded, and trusted and believed, and then doubted and questioned, they’ve seen us do all that kind of out in the open. We try to be very transparent with one another. And in that type of an atmosphere, you get a good sense of living life. You don’t feel like you’re the only one who is making that mistake, or the only one who had that challenge or disappointment or whatever it may be. So if there was one good word I could say, it’d be just transparency.
Wow. That’s so good, I’m just soaking in the advice you just gave. Was there anything you wanted to add about the concert?
I would encourage everybody to come. The most compelling reason I can give is because we’re going to lift up Jesus for a solid hour. I lean toward country music as far as my passion and love. I love chicken-picking on guitars! So we’re gonna sing some hymns that are kind of rearranged, but they’re not arranged in such a way that they’re unfamiliar. So sing along with it! I believe we need hymns in our life because they’re old and good. The old part just denotes that they have stood the test of time and lived. We’re going to do some worship stuff that we put our country twang on and a couple of life songs that encourage us in our parenting and such. I have an energetic, wonderful band that kicks it in the tail. And I think you’ll have an energetic enjoyable time lifting up Jesus right there at your house. What better night to do it than on Father’s Day? Y’all come!
The concert’s virtual doors will open at 6 p.m. ET for a special pre-show and time of gathering where viewers can learn more about Guy Penrod Ministries and meet Guy’s growing family. The “Concert on the Couch” premiers at 7 p.m. ET. Get your online viewing pass here, and check out Guy’s personal invitation to the concert below: