One of Northeast Ohio’s most established musicians opens up about Kenmore, Music, and Recovery
Marc Lee Shannon is a Rustbelt songwriter from Ohio’s “North Coast” with a career that has spanned over 30 years.
After spending the first decade of his career or so in working in Los Angeles and spending much of his time on the road, on the stage, and in the studio with many top country, rock, and soul artists, Marc returned home and was introduced to Michael Stanley. This introduction not only sparked a musical partnership, but a decades-long mentorship and friendship. Marc went on to serve as a member of Michael Stanley & The Resonators –one of Ohio’s largest concert draws, and established himself as well-known solo artist along the way.
Marc has deep familial ties to Kenmore. His parents attended Margaret Park School, and his mother was a proud Kenmore High School Class of 1947 grad. Growing up, Marc was fascinated by stories about how the Kenmore community was so family-friendly, cultural, and diverse, and even today his mother – now 93-years-old - talks about catching the bus on Lakewood Blvd into town to work at the movie theatre.
“What a time that must have been!” Marc muses. “I feel the spirit of those days and can imagine life during those years when I walk the streets of Kenmore. I am a descendant of those people who lived in that little town. Kenmore is woven into the fabric of my family heritage."
Marc is also a passionate advocate for addiction recovery, he has authored a monthly column, “Sober Chronicles,” for The Devil Strip. His podcast, “Recovery Talks - The Podcast,” features lantern holders and lighthouses that freely share their sobriety and mental health journeys.
We had the chance to talk to Marc about Kenmore, music, and recovery ahead of his headlining performance with his backing band “My Other Brothers” this Friday, Sept. 2 during the final Kenmore First Friday of 2022.
How do you think your family's background in Kenmore has impacted you as a person?
My family has a strong sense of the working class that runs through the fabric of our Kenmore heritage. Listening to stories of my mom’s journey in high school: being required to watch her younger sibling and working downtown, she had to really lean in and help the family make it. There was not a lot of “fun time” in her life growing up. There was a struggle and a strong need to contribute to the family that was common in that time and place.
Like many places, Kenmore has felt the sting of opiate and other drug addiction. How do these very personal struggles impact an entire community?
We are a village. All of us are impacted by the economic, cultural and unfortunately sometimes the criminal nature of the results of Substance Use Disorder in our community. We can stand together to remove the stigma of Addiction by calling out that this is a disease, an illness not a personality flaw. Treatment and prevention can help us avoid too familiar stories of incarceration and the decimation of families.
So many times we hear stories of musicians falling victim to addition. Why do you think that is, and what can we do better to support them?
I guess we hear more today about the sensationalism of personal tragedy. Face it, there are media headlines that get attention when something bad happens. I will tell you though, that just as often I hear stories of artists that have beaten addiction and other mental health issues. These, often times, do not make headlines. Recovery is possible. I am sober now for 7 years and 10 months.
Having experienced recovery yourself, you are a vocal advocate in the community, particularly with the Summit's Rock and Recovery radio station. How do you think music supports people in recovery?
Music is uplifting and healing. It helps to convert the emotions that we all feel. It is a language that anyone and everyone can relate to when the right song meets the way we feel. Music is a salve that heals and helps us remember we are not alone.
I'm sure you've heard of Kenny Lambert and Just a Dad From Akron, whose shop on the Boulevard offers support groups and an open door to people who are struggling. What are your thoughts on his model of business, and why do you think it is important to have people like him on the Boulevard?
Kenny has been on my podcast Recovery Talks.
We must stand together . We have to show others that recovery is possible and that right there is your own community it is a living example of evidence that people do recover. We must support business's like JADFA to hold up the lantern to the community and say “Look!, you can do this too!"
You've performed on Kenmore Boulevard several times since revitalization efforts started in 2017. Why do you keep coming back?
I keep coming back for a lot to reasons. The number one is Tina [Boyes, Executive Director, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance]. When you see a person that is passionate about right intention and warm hearted purpose… get in that boat and row!
What can people expect to experience at your performance next Friday?
Music from my latest and past records performed my MLS (me!) and My Other Brothers : Angelo Merendino, Kurt Anshutz and Michael Weber. A cool little combo that will rock and play a 60 minute set that will not disappoint. If you like N.E.Ohio made soulful, rock sounds, you will dig it!
Don’t miss your chance to see Marc Lee Shannon & My Other Brothers when they perform this Friday, September 2 at 8pm during the final Kenmore First Friday of 2022!