Rochester-based band Light45 to play at Owatonna Arts Center Saturday

Light45, a band featuring songs from rock to worship music, will make their second-ever appearance in Owatonna Saturday at the Owatonna Arts Center.

Previously, “we played an event in the park” with some church groups in town, and “we were invited back,” said Justin Hawley, lead singer and guitarist for the triumvirate. Owatonna is “a great city.”

“We’re excited” to play in Owatonna again, said Mark Eidem, Light45’s bass player. “We’re trying to spread a little farther out and make some more hometowns.”

“A rock band in the Christian rock genre,” Light45 has found support despite the long and uphill path faced by original groups, Hawley explained April 11 when he performed a solo set inside Central Park Coffee. “The easiest way to make a quick buck is to be a cover band,” so the fact Light45 has been able to create a following “says something about us.”

“We just love to play music and perform,” he said. “We’ve also had a measure of success, which always helps.”

Indeed, Light45 has boasted three top-30 Billboard songs on the Christian rock charts, and three of their songs have been featured on television shows, he said. They went down to Nashville to record their EP with a Grammy-winning producer, and “though we only ended up with five songs, they’re five great songs.”

“We spent the money to do it right, and now we need to maintain that level, which costs money,” he said. Indeed, “most of the songs are written for our next album, and we’re trying to find the financing to record it this year.”

Going to Nashville to record “was great,” as “it’s definitely a music city,” as well as “the place to go to make contacts” in the music business, Eidem said Thursday. Eidem was even able to get on stage and play alongside BB King’s drummer one night.

“We all learned things” from their time in Tennessee’s capital city. “You think you know everything, but you learn you don’t know anything, and it’s humbling.”

They don’t tour as much as they could because all three members have families, but “we write new material almost every practice,” Hawley said. “We record anything that might make it into a song,” even snippets of a few seconds, then “objectively listen to it,” and “we’ll go over it 100 times to get it right.”

“When we write, we let the song almost write itself,” said Eidem, who has been playing bass since he was 14. “We go where the song takes us.”

“We try to write about real things that are relatable, and we kind of have something for everybody,” Eidem added. “We just write good music,” and—especially in Rochester—“our songs are recognized by a lot of people.”

Because the band—based in Rochester—doesn’t tour as often as many of their contemporaries, it’s special when they do perform somewhere, Hawley said. “We want to make sure it’s a legit event when we come to town.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and tickets—available at the door or in advance at Tone Music and the OAC—are $10, according to Joyce Parker, who helped organize the concert. There will also be a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card.

Before and after the show, audience members are invited to “chat” with the band, because “we love meeting new people,” and “a lot of our fans have become friends,” Eidem said. “We’re all about the relationships.”

Reach Reporter Ryan Anderson at 507-444-2376 or follow him on Twitter @randerson_ryan.