To ensure that the men were committed to their mission, he proclaimed, “Burn the ships!” The only way to go was onward; retreat was not an option. “That is the big statement that this collection of songs is making,” says Luke. “We don’t want to live in the past; we want to move forward. There are things in everybody’s pasts that you have to get rid of—in some cases physically burn and in other cases you just need to get rid of them however you can emotionally. For us, that is the name that represents this collection of art and work best.” These songs fit in perfectly with today’s pop music arena, where artists ranging from Kesha to Drake are exploring themes of religion, prayer and God. The Smallbones’ words are a soothing salve for a hurting nation in need of healing. “People are hungry for truth and hope,” Luke says. “I don’t think they want something that is false. So when it comes to people seeking out God, they are receptive because they are trying to figure out what is true and real. I think that is a good thing. I hope our music can play a role in that, but ultimately people have to figure it out for themselves.” Burn the Ships may be the duo’s most personal work to date because the songs are about some of the most meaningful and terrifying moments of their lives. For instance, “Need You More” was inspired by the near-death of Luke’s infant son, Leo. His wife Courtney found Leo in his crib, blue from not breathing. She began CPR while praying over their son, who soon came back to life. While driving to the hospital, the words, “I need you more/more than ever before,” came to Luke, who hit record on his phone. That original recording, including sounds from the car, was included in the final mix. “My hope is that if I have gone through some form of suffering, maybe there is someone else who has gone through something similar who can take a bit of hope that there was someone else just like them,” Luke says. “I feel like God has given me these struggles to share those stories.” “joy.” was inspired by Luke’s late-night marathon scrolling through social media. “I couldn’t articulate in that moment why I was sad, but it sent me on a pilgrimage, and that is where ‘joy’ came from.” I realized I needed to do something if I want to have joy. I can’t just scroll and find it.” While “Fight On, Fighter” continues the duo’s focus on a woman’s worth, it is first and foremost a musical letter of support to their wives. Joel and Luke, who have become American citizens, learned about hope, love and support from their tight-knit family. Their parents raised seven children in Sydney, Australia, before moving to Nashville in 1991. Music became the family business.