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For King and Country keeping the faith on Winter Jam tour

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Nearly a year later, Joel and Luke Smallbone -- the Australian-born sibling Christian rockers known as For King & Country -- are still "pretty flabbergasted" by their Grammy Award fortunes.

For King & Country won two Grammys during the 2015 ceremony -- Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for their 2014 sophomore set "Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong" and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for "Messengers," a collaboration with Texas rapper Lecrae. And even though they had a show in `Nashville the night of the awards, Joel Smallbone still has vivid memories of learning about their victories.

"Luke and I were heading into the venue when we got texts and calls that we'd won both (Grammys) we were nominated for," Joel, 31, recalls by phone from his current home in Nashville. "We were in the one category with Lecrae, and because of his notoriety we thought there was a chance it could happen. But we didn't think in a million years the album could take it, so they were both very special."

It was also a night of celebration on the Winter Jam tour, which For King & Country is headlining this year.

"Y'know, we're relatively young artists. That was only our second album as a band," Joel explains. "We had all these other young artists on the tour, and some others who came to the show 'cause it was in Nashville and so many of us live there. And everyone was just thrilled. It felt like a triumph for all the younger artists, like we all did this together. That was very, very sweet."

Now, of course, all eyes -- and ears -- are on For King & Country to see what the Smallbones do for an encore. The brothers are "discussing it, at the very least," according to Joel, although they also released an anniversary edition of the album last fall with three new songs. The primary project now is a film called "Priceless" that's being directed by their brother Ben and was filmed in New Mexico towards the end of last year. It's a bit of a return to the brothers' roots -- "Ben and I always made short films together when we were growing up and it was always our dream to make a film," Joel says -- and it's expected to be out some time this year, with songs and score music by For King & Country.

"It circles around this priceless moment we share in our lives," Joel explains. "It talks about relationships and letting women know how much they're worth and not to settle for second best in a relationship. And it offers a reminder of men as well that chivalry is alive and well and to treat these ladies the way they deserve to be treated.

"It's crazy to see the response it's gotten so far. So we're excited about getting it off the ground and seeing what pans out, but we'll definitely start working on new music for (the band), no doubt."

Winter Jam 2016 Tour Spectacular with For King & Country, Matthew West and more

5:45 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31.

The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills.

Tickets are $10.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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