Brothers Luke and Joel, and band for King & Country to Brentwood, Friday night.
By Allen Payton
Featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as a debut artist, gathering “New Artist of the Year” and “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” awards, and having the top-selling debut release from 2012 in its genre, for King & Country is currently on its next season with a new album – that’s hit #2 on the iTunes charts in America – and a major market, 40-city fall tour. Comprised of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, the duo continues on their “YOU MATTER – THE TOUR” Friday, October 10 at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, in support of their sophomore release, RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG.
They’re hitting significant venues in cities like Los Angeles (Chino and Riverside, CA), Washington, D.C. (Woodbridge, VA), Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Las Vegas, Austin, Albuquerque and more before wrapping up in New York City on Nov. 23.
Being sponsored by Compassion International, during their tour for KING & COUNTRY are planning a full night of live music, with no opening band, and will play their current hit single “Fix My Eyes” and more new music, as well as fan favorites like “The Proof Of Your Love” from their critically acclaimed debut album, Crave.
“While Crave was a great foundational piece, particularly if you have seen us live, you will see this springboard into a new and more developed version of what for KING & COUNTRY is with the rhythm and all of these different components,” says Joel, reflecting on the new album. “One of the things that is really exciting with the album overall is that we have about 300-plus shows under our belts at this point with a group of guys that have become like brothers. We have made these discoveries along the way—our love for rhythm, our excitement for theatrics. These sorts of things have naturally found themselves inside the new record.”
In an exclusive interview with the Herald, older brother Joel gave some insights into the band.
A Christian pop group, for King & Country derives their name from an old English battle cry. The brothers are originally from Australia, which is part of the commonwealth of Great Britain, thus the English connection.
They grew up and are based in Nashville, where their father worked as a promoter in the music industry. He is now their manager. Their older sister is Rebecca St. James, also a Christian recording artist, and speaker.
Launching their own musical career in 2007, they’re a “10-year overnight success,” Joel said with a laugh.
When asked about their style of music, Joel offered, “Absolutely the spiritual side, we write music for God and people.”
“We are Jesus followers,” he added. “Absolutely Jesus and hope are central themes of for King & Country. But, we want the music to be heard.”
“Jesus’ benediction on earth was to go out and make disciples and that’s what we take very seriously with our music. Whatever your faith, even Muslim, our desire is that you will be able to find the humanity and honesty in the music and that you will be able to be inspired by it.”
Much has happened in their lives the past few years, since release of their first album, in 2012.
Younger brother Luke and his wife Courtney had a baby. Now, they’re pregnant with second child. Courtney’s with them on this tour, Joel mentioned.
Last year Joel married Moriah Peters, who hails from southern California and is also a Christian recording artist.
They’re both on tour, right now, which takes some coordination in order to spend time together. Moriah performed in New York on Sept. 18 and the band performed the next night, in Pennsylvania.
They just purchased a motorhome which will serve as their home on the road.
“We’ll do three or four shows a week,” Joel stated. “We try to knock out a tour over a two month period. Nashville was sold out.”
Both brothers sing. Luke is the drummer, because “he’s much more proficient, rhythmically,” he said. He also plays the glockenspiel and harmonium.
“I play a little piano but really focus on singing,” Joel added. “We have five band of brothers. I leave it to them to handle the instruments.”
With soaring melodies, driving rhythms and powerful, personal themes of RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG., for KING & COUNTRY has created an album that lives up to the band’s name, a reflection of standing and fighting for something bigger than yourself, a mission statement that drove the duo from the first words written for this project until the last note was recorded.
“RUN WILD. LIFE FREE. LOVE STRONG. is a statement of reclaiming our birthright as humans to live a life that is for others–a life that is others-focused, God-focused—and in that find what it truly means to run wild, live free and love strong,” says Joel.
The first single from RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG., “Fix My Eyes,” has remained in the Top 5 on iTunes Christian/Gospel singles chart since its release May 1. In addition, Nielson BDS reports that the single had the most stations supporting first-week at Christian AC/CHR radio than any song since 2009, including 100% of the Christian CHR panel. With 98 reporting stations currently spinning “Fix My Eyes,” the song hits No. 10 on the National Christian Audience National Airplay Billboard chart and continues to climb. The song also jumps to No. 3 at Christian CHR while hitting No. 11 on the AC Indicator chart. Fans can get an inside look at the inspiration behind the song “Fix My Eyes” and their exciting live show in this new video: http://smarturl.it/fixdoc.
More about for King & Country
The duo was named “New Artist of the Year” at the 44th Annual Dove Awards and “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” at the first annual K-LOVE Fan Awards. Their critically acclaimed debut album, Crave, released in 2012, is the highest selling debut from a new artist in their genre that year. They made their late night debut performing their hit song “The Proof Of Your Love” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the song was named iTunes’ Breakthrough Christian & Gospel Song of the Year. ET’s “The Insider” said for KING & COUNTRY “make music that speaks directly to your heart” and have been “gaining popularity in the alt-rock genre.” American Songwriter commented that “for KING & COUNTRY may just be Australia’s answer to Coldplay.” In 2012, they were named one of Billboard’s 17 acts to watch and were CCM’s best-selling new artist.
For more information and a complete listing of tour dates, please visit: www.forKINGandCOUNTRY.com, www.facebook.com/forkingandcountry and https://twitter.com/4kingandcountry.