The brothers of this week’s spotlight band are creative, put on amazing concerts, have incredible talent and harmony and a unique style. They’ve been working on their craft for a long time.
Joel and Luke Smallbone got their start during high school as they supplied background vocals and other supporting roles for their sister, Rebecca St. James who is a Christian pop artist and actress. The siblings originally hale from Australia.
The name For King and Country came about after they signed on with Warner in 2009, as younger brother Luke described, “We wanted a band name that carried more meaning. We were in the studio recording our debut record that Joel had the idea of All The King’s Men, like the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme. Our producer overheard our conversation and swung around in his chair and said, ‘What about For King & Country?’ And we all felt a sense of providence in that moment. “For King and Country” was the battle cry of English soldiers willing to lay down their lives for their king and their country. And now it has become our mission, to lay down our lives for our King (Jesus) and our country.”
The brothers were on their way, with the success of their first hit in 2011, Busted Heart (Hold on to me) which reached #3 on Billboard’s Christian song chart and held in the top 10 for weeks as the fastest rising single of the genre that year.
The brothers aren’t without their own adversities, as they were growing up in a family of 7 kids, the family moved to the US as their dad tried to make a go in the music industry. The family struggled financially, until their sister Rebecca began her career which helped the family survive.
Life hit them hard in 2016 as younger brother Luke was rushed to the hospital while Joel was on his honeymoon. For a while he’d had ulcerative colitis, a digestive disorder and when he was taken to the hospital, he weighed only 125 pounds, too frail to hold his own newborn baby.
This was one of the first songs I’d heard by them which was written about his experience, and it still brings tears.
This thorn in my side, though it cuts and stings me
Has opened these eyes, I’ve never seen so clearly
And oh God, I thank You, ’cause You bring me to my knees, back on my knees
For King and Country aren’t really a worship style group, but their songs point to real life and are scriptural, always pointing to the Most Important part of life’s struggles- Jesus.
This song has always been one of my favorites from the first time I heard it a few years ago- and it’s clearly based on 1 Corinthians 13. I love the creativity of the video as well, as it’s relatable to the Orwellian world we find ourselves heading into…
Their latest song, God Only Knows is based on something similar to what we’ve posted here before. About the song, Joel explained the story behind it,
“There seems to be a lot of: ‘You said this. You did this. How dare you.’ The song is really a question mark of, well, first of all, do we really understand each other, fully? Our histories. Our family heritages. The struggles. The things that have been done to us that no one knows about. The shame that we carry. Some of it we’ve done to ourselves, as self-sabotage, some of it other people have done to us.
You’re just seeing a brief moment in time of that person – when, you know, he showed up at the airport at 5 am and cut you in line and really upset you… There are some things that, man, God does only know. We’ve got our shame, we’ve got our troubles, we’ve got our prejudice, we’ve got our judgments. God knows your heart and in turn, the flip of that is, God also carries this love that is sort of the superman of all love.”
There are more of their songs I really like, but I don’t want to be a post hog again 😉
I hope folks find some of their favorites and post them here. Have a blessed Sunday all!