Late last night, the brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone who make up For King & Country, released a new music video of their hit song, “God Only Knows” but with a twangy twist – it also stars Dolly Parton.
“It was like God spoke,” Parton told USA Today of the song the first time she heard it. “I thought so many people with all their problems … I just felt like this song touched everything people struggle with. There’s just such a peace and love and sweetness about it, and I really think this song says what we need to be hearing right now.”
As it turns out, Joel Smallbone is a fan of Dolly and the inspiration to ask her to join them in the remix began after viewing Parton’s Netflix movie, Dumplin.
“Everyone loves Dolly and then you watch ‘Dumplin’ ‘ and every song was like, ‘I love that song,’” he says. “At the end of the film, I thought, ‘I wonder if we just reached out.’”
Ironically, Parton had just mentioned to her manager that she wanted to work on more faith-based songs and then came this opportunity.
“I feel really blessed for ‘God Only Knows’ to have landed in my lap like it did,” she said. “It’s like it fell from the sky. When I heard it, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is so good.’ When we got to singing it, oh it just sounded so good. And just working with them was such a blessing.”
The Smallbones, who had just finished three nights of concerts at Dollywood as part of theme park’s “Rock the Smokies” music series (which also featured Jordan Feliz, Micah Tyler, Tauren Wells and Zack Williams) created the new video with their brother Benjamin directing. The “God Only Knows” video features each of the three singers viewing alt versions of themselves with Joel portraying a drug addict, Luke portraying a very sick hospital patient and Parton portraying a prostitute, which is probably a first for a Christian music video.
“I just wanted to show how far people could go down, and I knew that was something I could do,” says Parton. “This whole thing was their project, and God just handed it to me to be part of it.”
And here is how it all turned out:
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.