Drummer Liberty DeVitto, who played with Billy Joel for more than three decades (on albums and live performances) also has his own band, The Slim Kings, and they’re premiering their new single, “Truth Be Told,” here at American Songwriter on June 26. The song comes from their forthcoming album, The King’s County Classic (due for release on October 16).
Besides DeVitto, The Slim Kings lineup also includes singer/guitarist Michael Sackler-Berner (known for over forty primetime TV placements) and bassist Andy Attanasio (Joey Badass, Black Thought, Diddy).
“Truth Be Told” showcases their soulful, catchy classic pop songwriting chops – but even with their collective songwriting talents, though, “Truth Be Told” took some time and effort to complete, according to Sackler-Berner: “The verse and chorus changes were actually two different songs that we couldn’t quite finish that we mashed together in rehearsal,” he says. “I think we wrote the bridge once the verse, pre and chorus had been finalized.
“The lyrics were written during the 2016 primary when we were touring upstate, and none of us can remember the exact moment we married the lyric and music,” Sackler-Berner continues. “We were playing live a lot at that time, and demoing new songs every week, so we tracked it. That song got played live for nearly three years before cutting it for the album.”
Working with producer Nick Movshan (whose previous credits include Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars, among others), The Slim Kings recorded The King’s County Classic was recorded in Queens, New York at The Diamond Mine, an analog studio without a computer in sight. This was, according to DiVitto, a big departure for the band.
“Our first records were made at our home studio, The Social Club, in Brooklyn, and usually chased a big rock sound to be competitive,” DeVitto says, “but when we decided to make The King’s County Classic, we wanted to abandon that sonic one-upsmanship which kept landing us in the same place. Instead, we sought out production that sounded like records we listened to in the car – The Rascals, Al Green, Orlons, Donovan, etc. Most elements on those kinds of ‘60s albums were actually really, really small compared to modern records – but very specific.”
The songs for King’s County Classic “were chosen from over 40 tunes, with an emphasis on having undeniable lifts somewhere in the song – and they had to lend themselves to that Sixties-style production,” says Attanasio. “The songs on the album dictated two POVs. There are a bunch of tunes that sound like a rock band in an old soul studio (“Truth be Told” included), and another bunch that sound much more like actual old soul recordings where there are horns, etc.”
The Slim Kings plan to release more singles in the months leading up to the full album release in October.