Joshua Thomas (born Joshua Thomas Schurr ; January 22, 1988) is an American singer-songwriter based in Portland, OR. He has independently released 2 EPs and a full-length album, Sleep Like The World (2010), Halfway (2012), and The Harboring (2014). The first EP and the full-length (Halfway) were released under his given name, Josh Schurr, before he decided to produce all future projects under Joshua Thomas. His first work under that name is a 6-song EP, The Harboring. Thomas released three new singles over 2018 and the winter of 2019. He is at work on a full-length record.
Thomas grew up in Marlton, New Jersey. At age eleven, he began piano lessons. Upon discovering the music of Joni Mitchell, Thomas took up guitar and taught himself to play through the many alternate tunings Mitchell herself created. Thomas met Joni Mitchell in the fall of 2007 at the release party for her album Shine. Her positive reinforcement proved to be a turning point in his life and he subsequently began his performing career.
Sleep Like The World and Halfway (2009-2012)
Thomas lived in New York for two years, but ultimately settled in Philadelphia. In the summer of 2010, he recorded his first EP, Sleep Like The World, a collection of five songs written over the course of a year. Although the EP was fairly well-received, the songs were Thomas's first attempts at songwriting, and he has since distanced himself from the work and removed the EP from all online sales outlets.
Thomas entered the studio in the winter of 2012, after completing a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the money for production and duplication of a new album. He released his first full-length record, Halfway, on June 12, 2012 (under Josh Schurr), and promoted it through a national summer tour. Bill Chenevert of Philadelphia Weekly reviewed the record saying "his voice is a beautiful instrument and his piano skills are awe-inspiring." WXPN's music blog The Key called the album "a mix of expansive piano compositions very reminiscent of Tori Amos and back-to-basics acoustic ballads in the vein of David Gray."
The Harboring (2014)
In March of 2014, Thomas announced plans for his next EP entitled The Harboring, the first project made under the name Joshua Thomas. The EP is another independent release, made possible through a successful crowd-funding campaign with PledgeMusic. Thomas spoke with G Philly about the record: "I like to say that The Harboring is a collection of songs about a collection of men. Although in reality, the bulk of the record is about one man in particular." Of the title he says that he was "contemplating how often we harbor sadness or real emotion when working through something difficult. I think we all become pretty great actors in the process. The beautiful thing about working that stuff out through songwriting is that everything goes down on paper, so all the feelings I was harboring have been released and I can move on.
Relocation and new recordings (2015-present)
Thomas relocated from Philadelphia to Portland, Oregon, in September of 2015. After a successful crowdfunding campaign in spring 2017, Thomas entered the studio to begin recording a new full-length album. He recorded 10 songs but did not release them to the public. Thomas embarked on two tours in the winter/spring of 2018 and entered the studio again in May to record 10 more tracks. Of these 20 completed studio recordings, Thomas released a new single, Numb, on September 28, 2018. Vortex Magazine said of the single, “Thomas has a knack for conjuring the kind of sad-eyed balladeering of artists like Rufus Wainwright, Anohni, John Grant and even fellow Portlanders like Matt Dorrien. This is late-night, brooding, powerful stuff." In 2018, Thomas toured extensively, supporting artists like Adrianne Lenker (of Big Thief), Twain, and Buck Meek. He independently released two more singles in the winter of 2019 and is at work on a new full-length album. Ryan Oxford (Y La Bamba) is producing the record and they are recording the entirety of the tracks live to tape. No release date is set at the moment.