Toronto-based singer and songwriter Michael Brennan takes country music seriously – but his strong, distinct voice and his crack band put a sharp edge on the songs he writes. There’s sentiment in what he writes and sings, but hardly a trace of sentimentality. Originally from Cape Breton, Brennan has released his second solo album: Anywhere But Here is a roots rockin’ country record with heart and soul, set in the middle of a big smoky, busy city – but with a clear memory of where he’s from. The new CD, produced by David Travers-Smith, features the best crack rhythm section in Canada, Gary Craig (drums) and John Dymond (bass) and the astonishing guitar playing of Kevin Breit, best known for his recorded and touring work with Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, and Harry Manx. Anywhere But Here is as big, as honest, and as real as the man who wrote the songs and sings them with the heart and guts they demand.