For King and Country Takes a Stand Against Human Trafficking

The Smallbone brothers grew up in a Christian home in Australia with 7 siblings where music always had a strong presence.  Their dad was a successful concert promoter who took a leap of faith and moved the family to Nashville in the nineties.  Their sister, Rebecca St. James, released her first album at the age of 16 and was on the fast track as a young contemporary Christian artist.  Two of the Smallbone brothers, Joel (now 32) and Luke (now 30), were her stage managers. They handled everything for more than ten years. When Joel and Luke talked about starting their own band, they already had hands-on training.  Running Rebecca's music ministry allowed them to have a real vantage point into the power of music. "We understand how music impacts peoples' lives.  We want people to leave with value and hope," says Joel.    

Rebecca was a popular women’s conference speaker during her career and both Joel and Luke were exposed to a lot of female conversation at her concerts.  They learned a lot about a woman’s worth.  “It’s time for men to step up in relationships,” says Joel.  “Society suggests that women talk, act or dress cheap. We believe there’s a God who thinks women are priceless.”  This is a message Joel and Luke try to share at every opportunity.  “It’s astounding to see the heart to heart connection with women,” says Joel.  “It’s shocking to hear the response.”  They believe women are worth more than all the money in the world.

Joel stars in the role as James Stevenson, a man who gets thrown into the dark world of human trafficking and tries to save a girl he’s falling in love with.  The story began when their brother Ben began editing a documentary about a pimp-turned-human-trafficking-rescuer.  Joel and Luke melded that story into what became the movie, Priceless.  The script was written by Chris Dowling and Tyler Poelle and stars Bianca Santos (“The Duff”), Jim Parrack (“True Blood”) and David Koechner (“Anchorman”).  Smallbone brother Ben directed and dad Dave produced the film.  The movie comes to theaters on October 14, 2016.  The book by the same name released this month.

Five years ago, while picking a name for their band, Joel says they thought of “All the King’s Men,” but it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.  While in the studio, their producer said, “What about for King and Country?” The history of that phrase goes back to the olden days when the British soldiers would shout “for king and country” before going into battle as an anthem for fighting for something they believed in.  Joel and Luke looked at each other in the studio and knew they found the band’s name.  American Songwriter called them “Australia’s answer to Coldplay.”

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


2015 Grammy winners for: Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song; Latest album: Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong, 2015

Movie: Priceless, in theaters October 14

Authors, Priceless, Worthy Press, 2016

2013 Dove Award “New Artist of the Year,”

Have appeared on “The Today Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Access Hollywood,” FoxNews’ “Huckabee”

Cuts of songs aired on CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva”


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