With singer, songwriter, guitarist Justin Bernasconi’s 3rd album Sleeping Like A Maniac, we see an artist developing his craft to another level. Not that his previous two albums weren’t admirable in any way. Winter Pick and Barefoot Wonderland were in fact critically acclaimed recordings but with Sleeping Like A Maniac, we’ve stepped up a notch. His guitar finger picking is even more fluid, the songs are delicately finessed and as Justin says so himself in our zoom video interview, he spent a greater amount of time on his vocal performance.
Lyrically the inspirations were wide and varied. Touring through Europe a few years ago and admiring master works of art, he found himself notating music in his mind to match the emotions he was experiencing at the time. Justin also faces some inner demons he’d previously been reluctant to visit and lays those bare on a couple of tracks. It displays an artist thinking about his own art in a spirit of experimentation and adventure. A great example of this is the title track, in which he’s not afraid to sit beautiful melodies next to stark dissonance. The wonderful use of strings and additional instrumentation adds texture and completes the songs, as opposed to just filling space. The whole project has been handled with great care.
Produced by like-minded musician/ producer extraordinaire Jeff Lang, the Sleeping Like A Maniac album presents Justin Bernasconi in his finest light. However rather than being regarded as the pinnacle of his recording career, you get the feeling it’s just unleashed the floodgates of inspiration, with much more to come.
Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Justin Bernasconi on a zoom call to chat about the creation of his new album Sleeping Like A Maniac.
Justin follows up on his critically acclaimed albums Winter Pick (2014) and Barefoot Wonderland (2017) with the release of his 2021 full length, Sleeping Like A Maniac, produced, recorded and mixed by Jeff Lang with Lady In The Field and Flags Staked Upon The Hill mixed by Isaac Barter and mastered by Adam Dempsey. SLAM follows the release of two singles in May this year, Blank Page + Flags Staked Upon This Hill. Curiosity and commitment drive Justin’s continuing exploration of roots music pathways – acoustic blues, bluegrass and folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic. His third album turns the focus from an Americana bent to his take on UK roots in what he calls ‘folk impressionism’.
A man. A guitar. A song. Justin Bernasconi is recognised globally as a master folk guitarist. He takes the essence of the time-honoured trinity to captivating instrumental heights. Together, guitar and words plumb the depths of the human condition but also illuminate the little joys that make it all worthwhile. Alongside the intricate sculpting of strings he melds candid stories with mellow vocals to create evocative moods with ease. S.L.A.M. offers everything you’d expect from this consummate artist and so much more
Music distribution via Mountain King Music/ Planet Media MGM