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FOR KING + COUNTRY Make Holiday-Themed History at the Opry House in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The band FOR KING + COUNTRY brought plenty of joy to Nashville, Tennessee during their three-day run at the Grand Ole Opry. The group's holiday show A Drummer Boy Christmas was a big draw and was historic as it was the first ever "residency" at the legendary venue which only added to the excitement on December 20-22, 2023.


FOR KING + COUNTRY were dialed in on night two of their hometown residency.

FOR KING + COUNTRY are a GRAMMY-winning progressive pop pairing. Born in Sydney, Australia and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone bring passion and power to their faith-based songs.

The duo's growing list of accomplishments include number one radio singles, headlining tours with sold-out arena shows in major U.S. cities and abroad along with Billboard Music Award wins, multiple RIAA certifications and appearances on TV. Plus, they have had the privilege of working with Dolly Parton, Timbaland, Echosmith, Lecrae, Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin.

The Grand Ole Opry House was all lit up for the holiday, setting a happy tone for the evening. Early on during their energized show the brothers presented an animated take of "Joy To The World" encouraging fans to stand and clap along. Followed by a dramatic version of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" flowing into a spoken word part about the birth of Jesus. Both worked the whole stage and at one point they came out into the audience. Joel even climbed up into the balcony to greet folks.


Joel Smallbone in Nashville.

The FOR KING + COUNTRY show was a percussion heavy presentation packed with plenty of enchanting lights, visuals, moving platforms and a disco ball that reflected a possible TSO influence. Storytelling was also part of the proceedings as the brothers talked about Christmas in Australia where it happens to be summer at this time of year. They recalled their first Christmas in Nashville when it actually snowed.

On the snow globe screen above the stage, they shared a vintage photo of 7 snowmen made with only a small amount of powder. They reported that their creations would soon get ran over by a neighbor's truck. Back to the music that included band introductions and an uplifting "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Do You Hear What I Hear". The brothers also gave a shout out to the Opry staff and the radio station The Fish who helped promote their sold out three-night residency.


Luke Smallbone in Nashville.

They mentioned that they have been a musical duo for about a decade before sharing that they have also been working on a film for the past few years. Unsung Hero is about their family coming to America and all of their struggles. Yet, it was also a time of miracles as the Smallbones were given food, furniture and more as the worked to get back on their feet. Unsung Hero will be released on April 26, 2024 which happens to be their parents 49th wedding anniversary.

Although they talked about the film and the fact that Joel will be playing the role of his father (expensive therapy he joked), they did not mention that there will be an Unsung Hero Pre-Premiere Weekend (April 19-21, 2024). It is scheduled to include an exclusive movie screening, an early listening party of the soundtrack, full band concert, Q&A session with Directors/Producers, a live podcast recording, Meet & Greet with Joel and Luke, special appearances from family & friends and a Sunday Morning Service.

Before a short break, Luke promoted the organization Compassion International - a Christian charity dedicated to releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. Through sponsorships and donations, they empower local churches to provide individualized and holistic care to children in poverty, so they are free to learn, grow, play and dream.


FOR KING + COUNTRY Make Holiday-Themed History at the Opry House in Nashville.

Luke suggested that by supporting one child, you could have a ripple effect on that kid's community. He planted the seed that if you cannot swing sponsoring a child on your own perhaps you could with help from your church and/or friends. Luke concluded by saying that it was because of the generosity of others that he was on this stage. FOR KING + COUNTRY were also giving out gift bags that included tickets to Unsung Hero for anyone who signed up that night. Volunteers from Compassion were on site ready to facilitate the process.

A Drummer Boy Christmas had brothers Joel and Luke spreading holiday cheer to audiences nationwide with carols, chart toppers, and brand-new songs such as the single "For God Is With Us" from their recently released Billboard Top 200 album, What Are We Waiting For. Nashville was the last stop on the 2023 tour.

In addition to Christmas classics the Opry show featured FOR KING + COUNTRY hits such as "Burn The Ships", "God Only Knows", "Relate", and "Together". "Silent Night" was magical as it flowed into a quiet moment of prayer. "The Little Drummer Boy" had the brothers, a youngster and their percussion team happily pounding the skins to end this festive and feisty show on high, but they quickly returned for the encore of "Joy" thus ending the concert as it started on a joyful note.


FOR KING + COUNTRY take flight at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

Related Links: For more information on FOR KING + COUNTRY and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - FOR KING + COUNTRY | Unsung Hero Movie | Compassion International | Opry House


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