Joshua Burkett is a Vermont native. He was in many bands during the 80s and played saxophone in the improvisational noise groupe Vermonster, releasing some records in the early 90s before favouring a more rural sound. Burkett moved to a cabin in the woods and began recording extensively. Out of those home recordings came his first releases, notably Owleavesrustling (1995), on his own label.
Burkett was heavily influenced by early british folk-rock band like the International String Band and Pentangle, and his style of folk is closely related to this sound. He does however bring a more avant-garde approach to songwriting and recording, characterised by effect-driven lo-fi guitars, soft, whispered singing as well as field recordings. All these influences really emerge on Life Less Lost, released in 1998 on Spirit of Orr.
Soon enough, Joshua Burkett integrated the North-Eastern scene, in which he found a like-minded community. His next output, Gold Cosmos (2001) featured Matt Valentine, PG Six and Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance.