One of the founding members of The Longest Johns, Josh Bowker is responsible for the writing and co-writing a number of original songs for the band. When singing with TLJ, Josh takes the role of a Tenor.
Studying at NGM at about the same time as the other founding members of the band. While some of the other founding members joined NGM to study the more technical side of music production, Josh's focus was on singing. Josh credits the formation of the band on shared musical interest amongst the founding members during their time at NGM. About that time, Josh writes: "I think for some of the other guys, folk music had been a longer love. Then, as soon as we started singing together for fun, we thought: 'Hang on a minute, this might actually work as a band.'"
In 2016, a rise in popularity for TLJ and increased demands on the band's time left Josh feeling stretched thin with efforts to start his own business. Feeling that he couldn't properly devote enough time and energy to both his business and TLJ, and not wanting to burden the band with a member whose focus was divided, Josh stepped back from the band. Josh opened and ran Milk Teeth (now permanently closed), a cafe in Bristol focused on providing good coffee and a space to create. The cafe has showcased musical artists in the past, with a focus on quiet acoustic sessions.
Outside of TLJ, no publicly available recordings of Josh's work exist. Though he recorded a solo album while at NGM, it was never released to the public, he performed with a number of other bands (though research has not turned up particular band names) while at NGM as well.
In terms of influences, Josh credits Fisherman's Friends and Stan Rogers as having motivated his time with TLJ, and marks the work of Kimber's Men, Fore 'n Aft, Stamp & Go, and the Balina Whalers as having helped build his interest in folk songs and chanties. Stan Rogers he credits as being his greatest influence in writing. About writing for TLJ, Josh states:
"Stan Rogers was a massive influence actually in terms of writing, because he was someone who wrote loads of songs that had mass appeal even though he didn't have much maritime experience, which is something I identify with! And then just looking up naval history and maritime history in general has been massive, as I'll land upon something and think: that would make for a great song!"