SongVault Artist Profile
Georgia, United States
Christian Country / Contemporary Gospel
“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.” – Psalm 96:1
Early in his musical career, John Penney appeared throughout the Southeast at concert halls, fairs, festivals and nightclubs with the Sunshine Express Band, a six-piece country/rock group. Growing up in Southern Georgia, John heard countless country, gospel and rock ‘n roll legends, yet he developed a style all his own. After connecting with legendary Nashville producer, Joe Gibson, John began to thrive as a solo country music artist. With his songs receiving national attention, he found himself sharing the stage with artists such as Merle Haggard, John Anderson, Ronnie McDowell, T. Graham Brown, Freddy Fender, Moe Bandy, and Helen Cornelius.
During his time recording for NSD/Soundwaves Records, John garnered numerous accolades including twice named one of “Georgia’s Top Ten” acts by the Atlanta Songwriters Association, winning the Middle Georgia Talent Search for Best Original Music and Best Song, twice reaching the Top 10 in the Indie Bullet Songwriting Competition, and receiving numerous Billboard Awards. Additionally, John’s first album Georgia Lady produced several singles, which landed him in Cashbox’s “Top 100.”
John, always a family man, slowed down his career when his three girls Candace, Carla and Caitlin were born. Not wanting to be too far from home, he focused on his family and his faith. Becoming more involved in his local church with his wife, Carlene and his daughters, John soon found himself writing and performing Christian songs. He and his brother, Ray, a gospel singer, discussed cutting an inspirational project together, but Ray’s sudden death left John without the desire to record.
Ironically, the birth of his granddaughter, Stella, propelled him back into the studio. When John looked into her sparkling blue eyes for the first time, he knew he had to create this project for her. And he did – writing, recording and producing thirteen songs - culminating in his new CD, The Gospel Truth. John notes, “This album is a collection of Christian songs that I wrote for my family, myself and most of all, for my Jesus. It is who I am and a testament to my faith.”
Not afraid to praise Jesus in his music, John’s raw and down-to-earth songs are reminiscent of a simpler time. His lyrics are poignant and meaningful while his delivery is heartfelt. John comments, “My older brother Ray gave me a great piece of advice prior to his leaving this earth to be with our Father in Heaven. He said, ‘If you get the chance, tell ‘em about Jesus.’” And The Gospel Truth does exactly that. The album ends with a particularly personal composition entitled, “My Brother’s Song.” Heeding Ray’s words, John sings, “Be a giver not a taker, be a builder not a breaker, let Jesus be your bright and shining light.”
John has seen the good times and the bad, experienced triumphs and disappointments, but through everything, he has kept his passion for music and a heart for the Lord! John Penney is singing a new song for all to hear!