Brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone are otherwise known as the band For King & Country, which will be playing its "Burn the Ships World Tour" at 7 p.m., March 21, at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette.
The two-time Grammy Award winners, natives of Australia who grew up in Nashville, will perform music from their third studio album “Burn the Ships.”
We got to catch up with Luke Smallbone about the tour and album.
I interviewed your brother Joel in 2014. At that time, you had been extremely ill. How are you these days?
I’m doing fantastic. I feel very fortunate I kind of don’t have to worry about health at all anymore. … I feel great and very thankful for health. … I’ve always lived a fairly healthy life so I did not think it would be a stumbling block.
I know others in your family have had health issues. How has that affected the band?
I think it makes you a bit more contemplative for the things that matter in life and some of these things inspire. … It’s also being able to sometime share these stories, being able to say I’ve walked through these things similar to what you’ve walked through. … I think it makes you live life with a little more purpose.
Your tour in 2014 emphasized the importance of respect and honor toward women and a woman’s worth. In recent days, we’ve seen news stories about #metoo and sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist churches. How does this affect your band since you’ve dealt with the concept?
It's definitely a problem. We have to understand that our actions matter and they take weight. For us, I was raised to respect a woman and my mother — my dad would get hot and furious if you were to be disrespectful to my mother and to my sisters. I’m now married and I’ve got kids. So, it’s something we’ve continued to talk about.
We still talk about the Priceless movement from stage. We say to women, “Hey, culture says dress and act like you are worth nothing more than a penny, but we say that there is a God who says you are priceless.”
And then we call out the men and say, “We’ve got to step up. We’ve got to be men that are chivalrous men that are integrity-filled people.”
The people you just mentioned, they are people that should be safe people. And they should be people that are held in high regard because of (their) position. … That’s very heartbreaking, very disappointing. I think we are held to a higher standard.
We talk about these things, and I think we would be naive to say that this solves the problem, but I think … it contributes to improvement if we talk of these things, and we can challenge each other and spur each other on to be more accountable.
I think that’s our hope.
What’s the theme of the current tour?
The album and the tour are called “Burn the Ships” and “Burn the Ships World Tour.” That statement is really about leaving the past behind and stepping into a new day, the future and what is ahead of us, what is on the horizon. That’s the theme of this tour.
Those victims (of the church sexual abuse) are going to have to heal from these things. And it’s tragic. When we talk about burning the past, it’s really healing the past and taking the things from the past and being able to actually use that for our futures.
What can people expect from the show?
If you were to take eight guys who were playing high school basketball and they made a decision to choose band instead of basketball, (it would be) the energy and hopefully the athleticism that comes from basketball players, that’s what you get on stage.
You get a lot of energy. You get cellos flying through the air. You get all sorts of craziness. You get a lot of lights and LED, a lot of interesting things.
We want it to be impactful. We want it to be very interesting. We often say we want the show to be highly entertaining. (Some people say,) “Entertaining? Isn’t it meant to be more about the content?” I’m like. “Well, people listen to your content if your show is entertaining.”
We want it to be hopefully a night you won’t forget.
Online I saw the inspirations for the current album include a baby who was not breathing, addictions, suicide and anxiety. Yet the thing that jumped out was the lyric “I Choose Joy.”
That’s a lot of different headlines, when you read it like that. That’s a lot going on. So then you have to make a decision: What am I going to do with all this? Am I going to wallow in the misery or are we going to figure out a way to take these things and choose joy?
I think what we’ve realized through the writing and exploration of these songs and themes is that joy isn’t … Wow, I feel super joyful today (or) this morning I woke up and I’m super delighted.
You actually have to train yourself, train your mind to choose to focus on certain aspects of life. … Choosing joy is something we’ve got to do day in and day out.
Both of your wives sang on one of the pieces. What was that like?
We wrote the song “Pioneers.” It was kind of a romantic song but it was just my brother Joel and I singing it. It felt super weird. So we thought if we get our wives involved it makes the story thematically. It makes sense. It means something
It was a beautiful moment. People think that Joel and I go out and do all this stuff, but our wives are really the backbones behind what we do in life. Without them, I think our worlds fall apart. To have that represented in a song was special.
Tickets for the March 21 show start at $69.50 for one, and the cost is reduced for additional tickets. For information, visit premierproductions.com.