Thursday, August 4, 2005

Toronto Caper back in town

The Daily News (Halifax)

Michael Brennan spent the past several days in his spartan cottage near Inverness, Cape Breton - no power, no water and no distractions. It's an annual summer return home for the rootsy songwriter.

The cottage is a far cry from his hectic life in Toronto, where he's lived for 17 years, splitting his time between teaching school and playing music.

Brennan gets a taste of the big city (it's all relative) this weekend, when he comes to metro for a pair of shows. Tomorrow night, he plays Stayner's Wharf, then heads up to Bearly's for a Saturday matinee. He's bringing along guitarist Steve Briggs and upright bassist Sam Petite - "they're my Tennessee Two."

Brennan and his brother Tim were the driving forces in Halifax seminal roots-rock band The Lone Stars, which pre-dated the early '90's explosion of indie bands here. (Lone Star drummer Michael Belitsky now tours with the Sadies and Neko Case, and Tim Brennan often plays bass with Joel Plaskett's Emergency.) Just as the so-called Pop Explosion blew, Mike Brennan relocated to Toronto. He's been making music ever since.

With a strong sense of lyrical story-telling and a love for roots country, Brennan slid easily into the blossoming alt-country scene in Toronto with his band The Wayward Angels. Their self-titled debut in 1999 kicked out the single You've Been on My Mind which edged into the Canadian country Top 50. He recorded Two for the Road in 2002.

Brennan is soon to release his latest album, Cautious Man, produced by Chad Irschick.

Sandy MacDonald