Joshua Thomas and His Obsession with Joni Mitchell

The singer/songwriter has an upcoming tribute concert, and we got a sneak peek.

This is the (really old) YouTube video that started it all:

This cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “A Case of You,” by singer Joshua Thomas, caught the attention of Mitchell’s neighbor, who showed Mitchell an entire series of covers that Thomas uploaded to YouTube. Several months later, when Thomas met Mitchell at a concert, she immediately recognized him from the videos.

Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas

“She had nothing but wonderful things to say,” Thomas recalled. “She’s a harsh critic of anyone covering her work. I remember she said to me, ‘Thank you for paying such close attention to detail.’ At 18, for a guy who had no idea what he’s doing, for someone to say something like that…it just made me fall in love with music.”

The love Thomas has for Mitchell has only grown, and his upcoming concert, I Am On a Lonely Road, on August 1 at the First Baptist Church in Center City, is clear proof of that: He’ll be playing the entirety of two Mitchell albums, Blue and Hejira. Thomas is, to use his words, an “old school believer of the album,” and wanted to present both of Mitchell’s works from “start to finish.”

“Our culture has a very short attention span,” he said. “We don’t want to listen to an album start to finish.” Yet, he thinks that in order to get the full scope of Mitchell’s music, one has to “hear it all as a whole to get the emotion of the entire thing.”

Tickets to hear “the entire thing” on August 1st are available by visiting this website. As a special for G Philly readers, we’re offering a $5 discount when you use code PHILLYMAG2015.