Justin Bernasconi’s beautiful new single features gently fluttering guitar over which his voice rises and falls, takes off and soars on gorgeous currents of melody. Bernasconi mixes slide guitar and delicate finger-picking to create a distinctive, intimate folk-blues sound. His impressive, seemingly effortless vocal range engages throughout this live rendition of ‘The Right Height’, which was recorded live by Jim Arneman. The accompanying video, a well-shot performance piece recorded in an empty church hall in Melbourne, is designed to focus our attention on Bernasconi’s fine musicianship and sublime song-craft in this timelessly beautiful song. Lyrically, the song is disarmingly honest: “Find it hard to hear all the trouble that I bring, // I know I need to work on many things,” and has the feel of an intimate conversation between lovers: “Kiss your furrowed brow, // Whisper in your ear, when // You’re feeling down, // That I love you.” Bernasconi acknowledges his flaws but asks for time and patience as he wakes up to what he’s at risk of losing. It’s personal and affecting.
‘The Right Height’ is taken from Bernasconi’s third album, ‘Sleeping Like a Maniac’, which is out now. It’s a superb example of Americana, full of excellent songs, musicality and sophisticated storytelling. After the release of ‘Barefoot Wonderland’ in 2017, Bernasconi and his partner, Cat Canteri, travelled around Europe and their cultural experiences inspired the songs on the new album. These songs were also influenced by a period of emotional uncertainty that followed because Bernasconi and Canteri were due to get married but found themselves in couples’ therapy instead. Just as the album was released, the couple’s first daughter also made her way into the world, which adds a further layer of meaning to the personal, familial journey that the songs trace. ‘Sleeping Like a Maniac’ is a fine piece of work. Check it out.