Blending varieties of Jazz & Ska Punk into American Roots Music, the Reverend shares life lessons and tales of the road.
Beginning in 2008 as a solo project, after a year of vagabonding the states with his guitar, Bastien released his first solo album, “Campfire Stories”(2009). Upon its release he hit the road again on an Open Mic tour. Starting in NYC, reaching Fairbanks, Alaska, and finally finishing in San Francisco. His encounters on this trip were the inspiration for compiling his backing band. After leaving Alaska, Bastien began writing new material and reworking old in preparation for his new project. The goal was set to create a truly minimalist rock band, one that would interpret well around a campfire or on stage.
*Returning to Rhode Island in mid 2010 Bastien created one of the bands major focal points, The Bare Drum. Keeping with his minimalist dream he combined Bass & Snare Drum tones into one single drum. Fixing it with a mounted shaker and splash cymbal for accompaniment, the new “Drum Kit” was the final piece in Bastien’s puzzle. With the Bare Drum completed and new material in hand, he enlisted long time friend El Hefe LaVallee to take a crack at his newly created invention. What transpired became The Congregation of the Traveling Empire. Later adding another long time friend and ex-band mate, Frenchy DeSilva, rounding out the bunch on bass.
In January 2011 Bastien’s second self release was the first for The Traveling Empire. “Roadside Attraction” a combination of new material and revisits of songs from his first album lay the ground work for the future of The Empire.