Guy Penrod,
Breathe Deep
(Servant, 2010)

Guy Penrod has been a presence in Nashville for decades, singing backup and harmonies on other people's records, backing up guests on TV shows and singing in gospel and Christian groups. Wanting to extend his range and scope, he has made this solo album, which takes him out of the strictly Christian field and into a genre we might call spiritual country.

That's not to say he has abandoned Christian music. Some of the best songs on the CD are calls to "Pray About Everything" and remember that God is "The Maker of Them All." Even the songs that aren't strictly in the genre are close to it; Penrod celebrates love and family, calls for personal responsibility, as well as responsibility to others. In "Are You the One," for example, he points out that someone is going to teach your children about "the birds and the bees / drinkin' beer and smokin' things. ... Someone's going to show him what love looks like / tell him about what's wrong and right," and he asks if you're going to be the one. Other songs celebrate being in the moment and being true to the people around you.

What I'm saying is there's some content here. This is an album that's about something.

There's also some fine music here. Producer Brent Rowan has gathered a top-notch bunch of Nashville heavies and has provided them with some fine arrangements. As a result, this album swings. The instruments complement Penrod's voice perfectly and his voice is fine, rich and sonorous, perfectly assured. He finds the emotional core of the song and brings it to the center without ever oversinging.

In short, with Breathe Deep, Penrod has given us one of the best Christian/country albums of the year.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

18 December 2010

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