For King & Country (band)

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For King & Country
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres Christian pop, alternative rock, soft rock
Years active 2007 – present
Labels Fervent/Curb
Members Joel David Smallbone[1]
Luke James Smallbone[1]

For King & Country, stylized as for KING & COUNTRY and formerly known as Joel & Luke, is a Christian pop duo composed of Australian-American brothers Joel & Luke Smallbone. The Nashville-based brothers' 2012 debut record Crave, has received much praise, and they were named by Billboard as one of the "New Artists To Watch" for 2012.[2] American Songwriter described them as "Australia's answer to Coldplay."[3]

SUSIE Magazine raves, "It takes only one listen to the brothers' rich, upbeat, alternative sounds and thoughtful lyrics to understand their sudden popularity."

They describe their philosophy as such:

"The power of music can impact our mood, emotions, our day. But when you merge the strength of music with the heart, hope and passion of the Gospel... it has the ultimate power not only to change someone's day, but to impact them for eternity. This is why we write music and sing songs - we hope that people will be moved, encouraged and stirred to live a life for Someone greater than themselves."[4]

They cite U2, Mutemath, OneRepublic, The Beatles, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Switchfoot, as well as film scores such as those from Braveheart and Gladiator, as their musical influences.[5]


The brothers were born in Sydney, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991.[4] The Smallbones are the younger brothers of Christian recording artist and speaker Rebecca St. James, and the brothers-in-law of Jacob Fink, bassist for the band Foster the People.

Their father was a music promoter, and Joel recalls, "going to these rock concerts, sitting on my father's shoulders, plugging my ears...Honestly, in a lot of ways I feel like music chose me and as I grew older, I made a clear decision to fully lean into it."[6]

Early Career, 2007-2010[edit]

During high school, the brothers did background vocals and other supporting roles for their sister, St. James, and various bands in concerts across America.[4] Shortly after Luke graduated from high school, the brothers decided to explore the possibility of forming a band, and in 2007, they began performing as their own band. They began their career with the band name "Joel & Luke", which they later changed to "Austoville". In 2008, they released an EP, A Tale of Two Towns with six songs, three of which appeared on Crave with slightly different melodies and lyrics ("Missing", "Sane", and "Love's to Blame") and three others entitled "Broken Lullabies", "Believe Me Now", and "Something's Gotta Give". Love's to Blame was co-written by St. James.[4]

In 2009, they signed on with Warner Music Group with Ben Glover as their producer. They changed their name to "For King & Country", after a British battle cry. Luke said,

"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 and our country."[4]

For King & Country: The EP (2011)[edit]

In 2011, they released For King & Country: The EP. Their song "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)" was released as a single and peaked at No. 3 on Billboard '​s Christian Songs chart.[7] They described "Busted Heart" as "really a universal cry of humanity for something greater than ourselves...[People] think [they've] got it all sorted out, and life will deal you those blows.

Crave, 2012 – 2014[edit]

Their debut album Crave was released on 28 February 2012. The album hit No. 2 on the iTunes top Christian & Gospel albums on its day of release and No. 42 on the overall chart. It peaked at No. 4 on Billboard '​s Christian Albums chart, and has remained on the chart for 26 weeks, as of 11 August 2012 chart, and also charted on Billboard 200.[8] The album has received rave reviews from critics.

Their first single, "Busted Heart" was the fastest-rising single of 2011 in their genre, climbing the Top 10 for weeks.

Shortly after Crave '​s release, they released "The Proof of Your Love" as a single, remixed and titled "The Proof of Your Love: The Monologue Mix". The single differs from the album version with a monologue spoken by Joel from 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (The Message) as the bridge instead of the guitar riff on the album version. The single is currently charting on Billboard's Christian Songs chart at No. 11 with 19 consecutive weeks on the chart as of 15 September 2012 chart.[9]

The band toured on the 2012 Winter Jam Tour Spectacular. In May 2012, they appeared on the Huckabee show on Fox News Channel.[10]

Their debut hit song, "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)" was featured on 28 October 2012 episode of VH1's "Rehab with Dr. Drew." [11] Among other television placements, their songs "People Change" and "Love’s To Blame" have been featured The CW's Vampire Diaries, and "Light It Up" and "Sane" have been featured on the Lifetime show Drop Dead Diva.[12][13]

In July 2012, they announced The Proof of Your Love Tour with Jason Castro and Dara Maclean to visit 30 cities from September through November 2012.[14]

In October 2012, they released an original Christmas song entitled "Baby Boy"; peaking at No. 20 on the chart.[15]

During the northern hemisphere summer of 2013, the band was forced to take time off when the 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Luke dropped to 125 pounds (57 kg) due to an attack of ulcerative colitis.[16]

In June 2013, Joel Smallbone appeared in a non-singing role as King Xerxes in the film, The Book of Esther from Pure Flix Entertainment.[17]

In August 2013, the band released Hope Is What We Crave: Live, a live album and DVD, both recorded at The Factory in Nashville on the last night of the band's first headlining tour. They also released "Hope Is What We Crave" as a single. It is a reworked version of "Crave" from their album, with slightly altered lyrics and a new melody.[citation needed]

The band toured with Casting Crowns starting in February 2014.[citation needed]

Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong 2014–present[edit]

The band released their new album Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. on 16 September 2014.[16]


On 26 June 2010, Luke married Courtney Helm.[18] He announced his first child, Jude James Smallbone, was born on 19 December 2012.[19]

On 7 July 2013, Joel married Moriah Peters in California. The couple saved their first kiss for their wedding day.[20] They now reside in Nashville, Tennessee.[21]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
2012 Crave 4 15
2014 Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. 2


Year Album
2008 A Tale of Two Towns: The EP
2011 For King & Country: The EP
2013 Into the Silent Night: The EP


Year Title Peak Chart Positions Album
US Christian US Heatseekers
2011 "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)" 3 For King & Country: The EP and Crave
2012 "The Proof of Your Love" 8 4 Crave
"Baby Boy" 17 Into the Silent Night: The EP
2013 "Hope Is What We Crave" 21 Hope Is What We Crave (single) (single version) and Crave (album version listed as "Crave")
2014 "From the Inside Out"[citation needed] From the Inside Out (single)
"Fix My Eyes"[22] 3 Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.
"Shoulders"[22] 11

Featured performer[edit]

Year Title Artist Album
2013 "Caught Dreaming" Andy Mineo Heroes for Sale
2014 "Messengers" Lecrae Anomaly

Joel Smallbone was featured on "Take this City" by Everfound.[23]


In December 2012, iTunes selected Crave as their Breakthrough Christian & Gospel Album of 2012[24] while at the inaugural K-LOVE Fan Awards held 1 June 2013 they collected the "Breakthrough Artist of the Year".[24] In 2015, they won two Grammy Awards at the 57th Grammy Awards, one for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and one for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.[25]

Grammy Awards
Year Award Result
2015 Best Contemporary Christian Music Album (Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.) Won
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song ("Messengers" Lecrae featuring for KING & COUNTRY) Won
GMA Dove Awards
Year Award Result
2013 Song of the Year ("The Proof of Your Love") Nominated
Contemporary Christian Performance ("The Proof of Your Love") Nominated
Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year (Crave) Nominated
Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year ("Caught Dreaming" Andy Mineo featuring for KING & COUNTRY) Nominated
New Artist of the Year Won
Short Form Music Video of the Year ("The Proof of Your Love") Nominated


  1. ^ a b ASCAP. "Busted Heart". ASCAP. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "for KING & COUNTRY: Billboard's Artist To Watch In 2012!". 17 January 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Live at American Songwriter—Ken Will Morton, For King & Country, Jack Tempchin, Garland Jeffreys". 2 November 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "For King & Country: From Rebecca St James sidemen to CCM success". 23 May 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Writer of the Week: for KING & COUNTRY". 7 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Biography | for KING & COUNTRY". Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Billboard 3/10/2012". 10 March 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Billboard 30 June 2012
  9. ^ Billboard 30 June 2012
  10. ^ "For King & Country on 'Huckabee'". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Rehab With Dr. Drew | Songs By Episode". 11 November 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "For King & Country Releases Debut Record on Feb. 28". Music News Nashville. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Biography | for KING & COUNTRY". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "‘Proof of your Love Tour’ Brings three of Christian music’s brightest new Artists - for King & Country, Jason Castro, and Dara Maclean". 12 July 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Christian Songs,, issue date December 22, 2012". Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Adams, Brent (12 December 2013). "For King & Country returning to Southeast Dec. 21-22". The Southeast Outlook. Middletown, Kentucky: Southeast Christian Church. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Pure Flix Entertainment Presents 'The Book of Esther',, issue date June 8, 2013". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Simple Wedding - Luke & Courtney's Wedding Program
  19. ^ "Music News, December 2012: IT'S A BOY FOR LUKE SMALLBONE OF AUSSIE DUO FOR KING & COUNTRY". 20 December 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Dinger, Anna. "For King & Country's Joel Smallbone Married Moriah Peters On July 7 [Photo] : Articles". MusicTimes. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Dinger, Anna. "For King & Country's Joel Smallbone Married Moriah Peters On July 7 [Photo] : Articles". MusicTimes. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "For King & Country". 
  23. ^ "New Single - "Take This City (feat. Joel of for KING & COUNTRY)". Everfound Official Website. 
  24. ^ a b Shi, Tony. "For King & Country Is Named Breakthrough Artist Of The Year At The First-Ever K-Love Fan Awards". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "Grammy Awards 2015 Winners: Lecrae, for King & Country, Erica Campbell Win Big In Christian Gospel Categories". Christian News, The Gospel Herald. 

External links[edit]