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for King & Country On How They Chose Their Band Name

Australian Christian-pop duo, for KING & COUNTRY stopped by The Bobby Bones Show to talk about how they chose their band name, their musical journey and more!  

Eddie asked Amy to get tickets for him and his wife to see their Christmas show. She went out of her way to get them tickets, when Eddie realized they’d be out of town that day and couldn’t go. To make up for it, for KING & COUNTRY stopped by the show to give Eddie his own special performance of their song “Little Drummer Boy,” and their song “Love Me Like I Am.”   

For KING & COUNTRY, who is composed of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, have been playing together since they were kids. Their sister was a gospel singer in Australia and their dad was her manager. They went on tour with them to help with road crew duties and started singing background vocals over time for their sister. Then, Luke tore his ACL while playing basketball, ruining his sports dreams, and Joel asked him to start a band.  

They had many names before landing on for KING & COUNTRY. At first, they were just known by their names Joel and Luke. Then, they went by ‘Austoville,’ a combination of Australia and Nashville. But people had a hard time pronouncing it, so they went back to ‘Joel and Luke.’  Then, they were watching a show that had the British monarch chant you say when going into battle, “for king and country.” They thought it was a cool phrase but went into the studio saying their name was “All The Kings Men.” Their producer suggested they change it to ‘for KING & FOR COUNTRY.’ They wanted a name with purpose. They realized they make music for God and people and the country, so the name was a perfect representation of that.  

Joel and Luke grew up listening to Christian music. The band Switchfoot was a huge inspiration for them. Listening to their music made them want to write songs of their own that were as meaningful. Luke said “An artist's job is to be a poet. And to articulate what another cannot. And if you give that to them, if you give them that song, then that song becomes their song. And in return, if you’re writing those songs from your heart, if someone responds to that song, it makes you feel less lonely.” That’s the gift of music to him and what he hopes for KING & COUNTRY’s music does for people.  

They have been working on a featured film that is centered around their immigrant parents. It’s a story about their parents coming from Australia to America and the triumphs and tragedy that happened along the way. Christian singer, Carman, is one of the reasons why they are here, they said, and his music will be featured in the film. It’s a real story that they just finished filming.  

They think the more blurred lines you can create in a genre and with collaborations, the better. That way you don’t put yourself in one box of music. It’s what they do sonically. A blurred line between Christian, country and pop music, it’s universal. They love that there is enough of a framework for people to rise in certain genres, but with streaming platforms, you’re able to branch out further.  

“CMT Crossroads Christmas: for KING & COUNTRY & Friends,” airs on December 12 with special performances from BRELAND, Chrissy Metz, Natalie Grant and Rebecca St. James who will be singing renditions of Christmas songs with them. They said it was fascinating to watch it come to life because the guests had to learn the words very quickly, but they all did great! They admitted the problem with Christmas songs is you go 11-months without singing them, so it can be hard to remember all the verses to each song.  

Their 2023 Spring tour “What Are We Waiting For” starts in March.