For KING & COUNTRY will wrap up their cross-country What Are We Waiting For? Tour in their hometown. The duo, made up of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, will perform on Sunday, May 22 at FirstBank Amphitheater in Franklin, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville. as the final date on their latest tour. It’s a fitting bookend for the siblings, who poured their heart and soul into not only this tour, especially after being off the road because of the pandemic, but also their latest What Are We Waiting For? album as well.
“It’s what we did on the Christmas tour last year,” Joel tells Everything Nash. “The final day was at the Grand Ole Opry. And it’s what we haven’t done in the past, which has been very damaging for me personally, ’cause it’s your hometown. It’s not just your hometown; it’s the record label and booking agent.”
“Your hometown show is a little bit like show and tell,” Luke adds with a laugh. “It’s like, ‘This is what we’ve been working on.'”
Both members of For KING & COUNTRY acknowledge that there might be some part of them that is eager to let their family, friends and fans see the fruits of their labor. But far more than that, bringing their What Are We Waiting For? Tour to cities across the country, but especially to their hometown, is a way to show all of the people who invested in them over the years, that their investment paid off.
“There’s a part, obviously, that you could just chalk down to ego,” Joel acknowledges of the tour, which began at the end of March. “There’s another part that’s like, ‘I’ve been working so hard on this. I’ve been working for years on this, and I want you to be proud,’ like the label, booking, publicity, family. We are very happy that it’s on May 22nd and not on March 31st.”
Dante Bowe, who serves as the opening act on the tour, also appears on For KING & COUNTRY’S What Are We Waiting For? album, on a song called “Unity.”
“He’s got a great voice,” Luke boasts. “It’s very intriguing. He’s become a friend over the last year or so. And I think that it’s important for features to service a need versus just service the marketability of a song. Because if it’s just about marketing, I think that the song will inherently feel disingenuous. And so a song like ‘Unity,’ you’re talking about what unity looks like with people, and the way that they appear, the way people are relating to another with the way that they think.”
It’s been a decade since For KING & COUNTRY released their debut album, Crave. In the time span since then, both Joel and Luke, whose relationship as brothers began their musical partnership, have found that often their best musical versions of themselves happen together.
“You could argue that this was a bit of an arranged marriage in being brothers, and our dad managing us, and being like ‘You guys should work together,'” Joel reflects. “And there are so many components that were sort of thrown into the world together, but ten years in, I think we’ve effectively really gotten to choose each other now, ’cause we could go and do other things respectively. I think that’s been beautiful, that choice. The choosing of each other has been beautiful, but it’s for good reason because there’s a balance of, we’re not getting in each other’s lanes.
“There’s a common respect,” he adds. “I think we feel really fortunate because there’s a lot of other family brother stories in both filmmaking and in music that, they get ten years in and they’re not having Thanksgiving together anymore.”