JOSH OLMSTEAD

Bio

Josh Olmstead is a classically trained guitarist, singer and songwriter. The son of a pastor and social worker, his formative years were shaped by his participation in church musicals and the choir. While still in high school he studied guitar at St. Lawrence University with Alexander Sasha Raykov, a Russian dissident, master bass viola da gamba player, and member of Owain Phyfe's New World Renaissance Band. He has also studied with David Starobin (Curtis Institute), William Anderson (Sarah Lawrence University), and Allen Krantz (Philadelphia Orchestra Lecturer).


Josh Olmstead holds a B.A. in American Studies/Music Minor from Temple University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude with University Honors, was published by the Heath Anthology of American Literature, and received the Robert M. Greenberg Award in American Studies. As a member of the Temple University Choir he sang in a performance of The Verdi Requiem at the Academy of Music, and also participated in Temple University’s Classical Guitar Master Class and Ensemble.


After college, he turned his focus to songwriting, recording, performance and teaching. Josh Olmstead is an ASCAP registered songwriter, represented by Blue Buddha Entertainment, a Los Angeles based film/television music licensing firm. His original songs have been named Philly Local Picks of the Day by on-air host Helen Leicht; were recently featured in the Chicago episode of Southwest Airlines’ Dish Trip, featuring Iron Chef winner Jose Garces; and receive regular airplay on various independent radio stations, including WXPN: Public Radio from the University of Pennsylvania, and nationally recognized leader in Triple A Radio.


Josh Olmstead has recorded with critically acclaimed producers Brian McTear (War on Drugs), Jon Low (The National), Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog), and Mikel Le Roy (Solaris - Music From The Motion Picture By Andrey Tarkovsky). His recorded guitar work with B.C. Camplight (Bella Union, Nettwerk Music Group) can be heard nightly at 6 pm on WHYY (NPR member station) as the theme music for Newsworks Tonight. He also played guitar on B.C. Camplight's second album "Blink of a Nihilist," which was designated a 5-star Album of the Week by The London Sunday Times, and praised by Pitchfork for its "unusual, Burt Bacharach-esque chord progressions with arrangements that echo the grandeur of Pet Sounds.” Most recently, Olmstead's guitar work can be heard on TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb's EP "Kong," which has received nods from YVYNYL, City Paper, WXPN’s The Key, and Swollen Fox music blog.


Josh Olmstead performs nationally and internationally in 50 to 100 concerts per year. He has opened concerts for several noteworthy artists, including Alberta Cross (ATO), Buffalo Killers (Alive Recordings), Howlin’ Rain (American Recordings), Iris Dement (Grammy Nominee and Prairie Home Companion regular), The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris (Rykodisc), Lucero (Universal), Jesse Malin (SideOne Dummy), Doug Paisley (No Quarter), Truth & Salvage Co. (Silver Arrow), and If By Yes (featuring one of Olmstead’s guitar heroes, Nels Cline of Wilco). He has performed at the South By Southwest Music Festival, XPoNential Music Festival, Philly Fringe Late-Night Cabaret, and at several noteworthy venues, including Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live, NYC’s Bitter End, Los Angeles’ The Mint, London’s The Dublin Castle, Glasgow's Barfly, Hamburg’s Prinzenbar, and Amsterdam’s Paradiso.


Josh Olmstead has also appeared in several influential online music series, including Weathervane Music, Bands in the Backyard (BITBY), and Daytrotter, where his performance with TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb reached the site’s Best 100 Songs of 2013. He has performed on several radio shows, including WDVX Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, TN; WXPN’s Gene Shay Folk Show Studio and Key Sessions in Philadelphia; and Studio Le Roy Sessions, in Amsterdam, NL. In 2014, he appeared with TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb as Chef Nikki Hill's house band and guests in an episode of Food Network's Chopped entitled "Pizza Perfect," which coincided with the airing of Super Bowl XLVIII.


Josh Olmstead is currently on the after school music faculty at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and directs summer rock camps at Friends Central, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and the Wallingford Community Art Center in Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Blink of a Nihilist (2007)

Lord I’ve Been... (2007)

Charms (2007)

Solo Records/Other Sessions

Purple Mountain... (2010)

Philadelphia guitarist, singer, songwriter - Hear his guitar in NewsWorks theme song weeknights @ 6:00 pm on WHYY (an NPR member station)

Suffer for Two (2007)

Le Fits 7” (2012)

Psychic Readings (2012)

TJ Kong/Daytrotter (2013)

KONG (2014)