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.
Although never far from music, John took a hiatus from recording. It was the birth of his granddaughter, Stella that propelled him back into the studio, culminating in his first Christian project, The Gospel Truth. While the album was well received, John, not one to rest on his laurels continued writing and searching for his gospel voice.
John Penney’s burning desire to write and perform returned, but with a new twist. John comments, “I have a sense of purpose now. I want to spread what God is doing in my life and I am able to play music to do it. That’s exciting!” It is evident that God’s hand is on John, and despite the recent struggles his family has faced with cancer and drug addiction, John has written eight new, very personal songs including one co-written with his daughter, Carla. His latest album, The Devil Took Him, solidifies John’s return to music and his dedication to spreading the Word.
That message rings clear throughout the entire project, but is particularly poignant in these lyrics, “Mercy comes down from heaven, I will be saved by the touch of His hand, washed in the blood of Jesus, I will be saved by His amazing grace” (from “I Will Be Saved” written by John and Carla).
The spiritual joy in John’s voice mixed with his songwriting prowess and performance skills must have the angels in Heaven shouting, “Spread the word, John, spread the word!”