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Local band believes in power chords of prayer

The cynical atheists of USF should look to Providence for evidence that good things happen to good people.

The local Christian Rock sextet Providence recently won a contest affording them the chance to play at 97X’s mainstream rock extravaganza, The Next Big Thing 7, Sunday at 10 a.m.

Providence released its third album in May, but lead singer Jimmy Chisholm humbly refers to it as “our first real album,” even though the group’s previous works have sold around 4,000 copies. The new album is called The Turning Point, and

recording it was the band’s first experience working with a professional producer in a fully equipped recording studio.

Providence’s music is catchy and approachable, with the melancholy sound of a cello – played by Chris Frattello – filling out songs like “Won’t Lie Down.”

Chisholm said the music is primarily Christian and the band’s lyrical inspiration stems mainly from the members’ collective faith. Several denominations are represented in the group and they play shows at Catholic, Protestant and non-denominational churches.

They also try to reach out to a secular audience. Songs like “Breakthrough” and “Take You Home” address the major motive for – and subject of – almost every rock and roll song in existence: girls. “Breakthrough” blends upbeat power chords with lyrics about being awkward in conversation with the fairer sex.

Providence has a prolific touring schedule and its members rely on parents, churches and community to support their artistic endeavors.

“Family First Assembly has been really great,” Chisholm said, referring to his church. “They let us set up our own recording studio there and they help us out with payments on the van.” He’s referring to the 15-passenger van the band uses to traverse the state, playing nearly 30 shows in December and January alone.

“We really try to do this thing full time,” he said.

Chisholm’s integrity was apparent in a brief interview. When the band’s

30-second entry into 97X’s contest made it to the semi-finals, he called the venues Providence was already scheduled to play during The Next Big Thing 7 and cleared it with them before pursuing the contest any further.

The band’s sense of honor and spirituality in an industry whose name finishes the sentence: “Sex, drugs and … ” makes their recent good fortune seem, well, providential.

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