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Justin Bernasconi's 3rd LP 'Sleeping Like A Maniac'
Justin Bernasconi uses his guitars to create art that’s filled with psychological tension, release and boundless creativity. He has formulated his own distinctly English style he calls folk impressionism that brings listeners in and allows them to form their own conclusions. With compositions like Lady In the Field, Sleeping Like A Maniac and Dancing Elephants he pushes the boundaries of harmony and dissonance. His approach is informed by a diverse range of musical pioneers from Stravinsky, to Richard Thompson, John Fahey and Tallest Man On Earth. Such ideas and influences help him transcend cliché and produce truly fresh and original music.
Justin Bernasconi Biography
A man. A guitar. A song. Justin Bernasconi takes the format to captivating heights. While he plumbs the depths of the human condition, he illuminates life’s little joys.
The British-born artist launched his first LP in 1994 with TV appearances, before having a mental health crisis that lost him a decade from the arts.
Moving to Australia in 2004, he recorded three acclaimed albums with alt-Country group The Stillsons. Solo releases Winter Pick (2014) and Barefoot Wonderland (2017) were celebrated in Australian and UK press.
On ‘Sleeping Like A Maniac’, Justin colours his Americana bent with echoes of UK roots. Influences include Tallest Man On Earth, Bill Callahan, City and Colour, Satie and Bill Frisell. Eccentric experimental takes on ‘folk impressionism’ encompass arthouse and jazz elements with daringly original arrangements. He finds a new voice on tracks featuring a soaring, tenor falsetto. Instrumental finesse reveals his classical sensibility. Songs depict dark nights of body and soul. In between, a jovial flag waves in the breeze. An artist to surprise and excite.
'Sleeping Like A Maniac' link
Festival/ show Highlights
Brunswick Ballroom June 2022, Sleeping Like A Maniac LP launch
Spotted Mallard June 2017, Barefoot Wonderland LP launch
Greennote Cafe, London, Barefoot Wonderland LP launch July 2017
Thornbury Theatre Aug 2014 Winter Pick LP Launch
Port Fairy Folk Festival 2022 - Arena stages including the 'guitar concert'
Kevin Welch co/ headliner 2019, SydneyNSW
Melbourne Guitar Show 2018 + 2016
Woodford Folk Festival 2016-17
Port Fairy Folk Festival 2015 - Guitar Concert with Nick Charles, Chris Smithers, John McCutcheon.
Tim Easton Double Headliner Concert 2019, Melbourne
Stefan Grossman, Burke and Wills - support 2012
These Machine Cut Razor Wire 2013 - concert with Chris Willson, Jeff Lang, Charles Jenkins
12 Bar Club, London 1999 - IV Webb/ Kathryn Williams
Cambridge Folk Festival/ Cambridge Folk Club 1994 The Fen Blows album launch
'There is no shortage of guitarists capable of cranking out technically showy, mind bending works of art with their fretboards. There's also no shortage of those who use the guitar as a tool for emotive storytelling, sometimes eschewing scholarly form to favour sounds that elicit natural, more distinctly human emotions.
There are few guitarists, however, that can push both of those styles to their extremes, delivering intricate and interesting passages of fretwork that stimulate the mind just a powerfully as they stimulate the heart - balancing virtuosic technique with a love for the (oftentimes simple) art of musical whimsy.
Justin Bernasconi is one of those few guitarists. Sleeping Like A Maniac is a tour de force of songwriting wit and headstrong performance.'
Australian Guitar Magazine 2021
"His style oozes atmosphere."
Guitar Techniques UK
'Edgy Celtic guitar playing of Folk giants like Bert Jansch and John Renbourn,
Justin sings late night lullabies surrounded by exotic guitar twangs and runs like
Davey Graham at his most exotic... Captivating listen.'
Fatea Magazine UK 2021
"Barefoot Wonderland is right: Bernasconi is so laid back here you can see the soles on those bare feet." Rolling Stone AUS
“Like Leo Kottke and John Fahey on the instrumentals and John Prine on the songs’. fRoots UK