Special Assignment: Christian Rock

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

November 19, 2006

They're rockin' the house of God--and the number of Christian bands right here in the CSRA might surprise you.

It's where gospel meets rock and roll. In this News 12 Special Assignment, we examine the message in their music.

With the lights, the crowds, and the energy, you'd think a Grammy-winning rock star was taking the stage last weekend, when a handful of Christian artists rocked Augusta's Riverwalk and had the James Brown Arena jam-packed.

The lead singer of one local band, the Wave, is both young and trendy and drawing some die-hard devotees.

Ben Woodward runs a local production studio and is capitalizing on catchy, Christian lyrics.

"The music is one thing, but it's the message behind the music that we're really interested in, and touching people's lives and changing people's lives," Ben says.

And perhaps no one's been touched more than Wayne Cheselka. A born again Christian of five years, Wayne used to be a heavy metal junkie.

"Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, all that stuff," he says. "That was the old days."

These days, he's a member of Bikers for Christ, riding this new wave of rock and roll.

"They can come to listen to the music, and sometimes they don't even realize the message that it's laying on their heart because they're listening to the beat of the music or the style of music. Somewhere deep down they're hearing the message," he says.

That message is absorbed and interpreted in different ways because this fan base is uniquely made up of both children and their parents.

But one thing's for sure: spiritual songs in the CSRA are selling.

"And there's some really good talent that's coming forth, and I just can't wait to see what the Christian scene does with this music, because it needs to be heard," Ben says. "It's really, really good stuff."

In South Carolina, there are nine Christian contemporary radio stations, including WAFJ 88.3 FM in Belvedere.

In Georgia, there are eight of these stations.

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