Interview: Leslie D. King & The Trembling Shakes return to ‘playing your heart out with your best friends’
01.02.2022

Interview: Leslie D. King & The Trembling Shakes return to ‘playing your heart out with your best friends’

Leslie D King
Words by Talia Rinaldo

Leslie D. King and his talented band are hitting the road in support of the release of their debut self-titled EP.

With influences drawing far and wide from The Alabama Shakes and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats to Big Smoke and Steve Smyth, stellar musician Leslie D. King and his carefully hand-picked band are hitting the road this year in support of their self-titled debut EP – a gold standard snapshot of catchy soul-soaked, heart-filled rock ’n’ roll.

Finally bringing their spine-cracking, hip-shaking, toe-tapping rock ‘n soul music to Geelong, Bendigo and Melbourne this March and April after having to reschedule their tour dates last year, the show will officially launch their EP out into the world after the toughest two years in history for touring musicians.

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Recorded over 12 months in between lockdowns with the help of Levi Anderson, the EP is Leslie D. King & The Trembling Shakes’ monumental effort to bottle Leslie’s unapologetic and raw songwriting with high energy and charisma of the band’s electrifying live performances. Released in September 2021, the EP came together with ease despite the tumultuous state of the industry.

“I think the most surprising thing was how easy it came together once we were in there, it took time but Levi the audio engineer made it so breezy for us, and his passion towards our music was amazing.

“We had our challenges navigating recording through COVID, which I think every musician had, but we got everything we wanted out of the songs so it made the challenge worthwhile.”

The follow-up to 2019’s standalone single ‘Sunday Kitchen Swinging’, each of the five tracks on the EP blisters with singalong melodies, raw honest lyrics, driving southern soul arrangements, wholesome horns sections, gospel-like choruses, catchy country hooks and, of course, Leslie’s irresistible voice and the band’s warm backing vocals.

With each song, the calibre of the songwriting and arrangements continues to impress as Leslie shines a transparent light on life’s issues.

From the relatable and bluesy opening track ‘The Standard Dream’ about the horrors of share housing with strangers, to brass-heavy closing track ‘Pushin’ On Through’ which tells the tale of a promise Leslie made to a late friend, to always check in to see if they’re okay, the EP reflects the group’s knack for making feel-good awe-inspiring music, capturing the essence of big, soulful, rock n roll band.

‘Slow Burner’, a love song to Leslie’s partner Allie, is an accomplished track that is sure to go down well on a sun-kissed afternoon during festival season, while ‘It’s All Worth It’ is one of the best representations of the EP, with a warm melody expertly performed by Leslie’s vocal backed by gentle harmonies and blues licks. The soft, yet demanding beat blends with horns and twangy guitars creates the most gorgeous, huge, captivating atmosphere that you can’t help but find yourself completely hypnotised by, drowning in a perfect sonic river.

While Leslie is front and centre showcasing his bold vocals and infectious energy, the rest of the band is brimming with recognisable talent both on this release and in a live setting, further elevating everything we’ve come to know and love from Leslie D. King.

Backing Leslie is Geelong’s Cam ‘The Ron’ Jerabek on Keys, Manchester’s soul queen Amy Powell on backing vocals, Aireys Inlet’s Matt ‘Thundercat’ Bourke, Lara’s Conor Walkeden, and The Melbourne East Golden Boys Ben Williams & Victor St Clair on Trombone and Saxophone.

“It was a wholesome experience, it took a couple of years trialling members to find the right fit for the roles, but it was worth the wait,” Leslie says.

“Everyone in the band now is all like family to me so it has made this venture very fulfilling and easy to navigate, everyone in the band is very talented and motivated towards this project so it makes it all the better.”

Never missing a beat, a clear musical maturity has developed ever since the arrival of Leslie D. King & The Trembling Shakes in its current form, with the band developing a dedicated cult following and burning through prestigious music venues across the country with countless sold-out shows.

Going from strength to strength with their debut EP, the band are ready to take on the world, beginning with their rescheduled tour dates in March.

“We’re heading out around the state in March for our tour, we have had it rescheduled from October so we are itching to get out there and play some music. It means the world [to return to the stage], I think we’ve still got a long way to go before it’s fully back in action but to start being able to go watch gigs and play, it’s definitely a positive.

“I think the thing I’m most looking forward to is sharing the many great moments me and the band have together, and nothing quite beats playing your heart out with your best friends to a big crowd.”

Catch Leslie D. King & The Trembling Shakes in all their soulful rock n roll glory at The Barwon Club, Geelong on March 18th, Warrandyte Music Festival on March 19th, Old Church On The Hill, Bendigo on March 26th and Stay Gold, Brunswick on April 1st.

In the meantime, check out and purchase their debut EP here.