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With bloodshot-eyes sunken into the gleaming skull adorning a Copperhead Road concert t-shirt, a ten year-old boy strode on stage before a sold-out crowd to join rock ‘n’ roll preacher and outlaw, Steve Earle, in singing the last lines to the show’s finale, “Little Rock ‘n’ Roller”. Though the concert t-shirt that once draped over his knees now clings tightly to his chest, the sights and sounds of that night have never left him…
Philly native, Todd Zamostien, is the heart, hands, soul and guts behind Bastards of Earle — Rock ‘n’ Roll, Americana, Folk and Alt-Country in the sweet and crumbling tradition of The Replacements, Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams, Mike Ness, Gram Parsons and its namesake, Steve Earle. Zamostien’s songs take inspiration from the city around him—its beating, broken hearts; its tender and often crooked smiles; and the constant flirtations leading him onto the other side of the tracks, to the edges of town and beyond. He finds solace in the drunken musings of curmudgeons, Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski–beauty is found in the scratchy earnestness of Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, in the wordplay of Elvis Costello and Tom Robbins and in the angst and honesty of The Clash and Nirvana. His songs seek to capture the honesty in a moment, whether it be found, lost or pushed aside. It’s the sound you get when you bleed all over your Telecaster or when you willingly trash your vocal chords in one last violent scream. It’s the sound of youth, it’s the sound of aging and the sound of nothing left to lose.
Through it all, the City of Philadelphia has remained a constant. Growing up, Zamostien received a musical education from within, taught to appreciate the sound of rock ‘n’ roll oozing from the corner bar as much as the music that trickled in from the world beyond. He was raised on the sounds of Philadelphia: Marah, Flight of Mavis and Frogholler. Both honored and humbled, he has played alongside local legends, Mike “Slo-mo” Brenner, Kenn Kweeder, Richard Bush, Jim Boggia, B.C. Camplight and John Faye, and now calls home to Fishtown, a section of Philadelphia harboring the likes of Kurt Vile and War on Drugs.
A veteran of the Philly music scene, Zamostien remains as lead guitarist for critically-acclaimed local rock ‘n’ roll outfit, North Lawrence Midnight Singers, whose last album was named by Dan DeLuca of The Philadelphia Inquirer as one of the Top 10 Best Local Albums of 2010, as the #1 Local Album of 2010 by the readers of The Key (WXPN’s local music website) as well as gaining radio airplay on WXPN 88.5 FM. He also toured with 60’s-esque baroque pop group, Summer Fiction (Philly/NYC), following their debut release which garnered attention from New York Magazine, Vogue and Magnet and was chosen for placement in both film and TV.
In the summer of 2013, Zamostien finally stepped out in front, forming Bastards of Earle as a solo vehicle for the release of his original material. Only months since its inception, Bastards of Earle has criss-crossed the wilds of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in search of kindred souls. Following the release of the music video for “Downtown Girl”, which drew attention from Philadelphia Magazine, Zamostien foresees the formation of a full-band to complement his growing catalogue. Additionally, in hopes of sharing his music beyond the confines of Philadelphia, a national tour is in the works to coincide with an expected album release in 2014.
Only at the beginning, Bastards of Earle are ready to dig in deeper, pull their sleeves up and jump in the fray! Many miles to go and many songs left unsung. And though we’re all Bastards at heart, it’s good to know that “there’s an angel just for rock ‘n’ rollers.”