Fall Songwriters Series

fall songwriters series


kidney j blues

SEPTEMBER 5 Alma Theater | 7:00pm

Kidney Brothers: If any act on the local scene is an institution, it’s the Numbers Band. The group has been together for more than 40 years, and regularly plays venues in both Cleveland and Akron/Kent. Now, Numbers Band singer-guitarist Robert Kidney and his brother, multi-instrumentalist Jack Kidney, have recorded solo albums. Robert Kidney’s album Jackleg features somber tunes that showcase his gravelly voice; the songs have a Tom Waits-like quality to them. Jack Kidney’s album Sealin’ up the Past is a more eclectic affair that includes bluesy numbers such as “Foot Prints on the Moon” and horn driven jazz tunes like “First Take.” 

J Blues: Joe has both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in jazz Guitar Performance from Cleveland State University (CSU). Joe has been teaching guitar for 34 years and is Professor of Music at Cuyahoga Community College, a post he has held for 12 years. Recently, he was awarded the college’s most prestigious award for excellence in teaching, The Ralph M. Besse Award. His playing and teaching repertoire includes numerous styles. In addition to jazz, he teaches blues, rock, and country. Joe also teaches ukulele and 5-string banjo.

Currently, he works with a regionally touring band on the black-tie circuit. He has opened shows in the Cleveland area for such legendary greats as Robert Lockwood Jr., John Hammond, David Lindley, Leon Russell, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, Dickey Betts (from the Allman Brothers), Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King, and Devon Allman from Honey Tribe. He appeared on the FOX 8 Morning Show and performed multiple times at Cain Park’s amphitheater and main stage.


SEPTEMBER 19 Alma Theater | 7:00pm

Marc Lee Shannon has been described as a Rustbelt/North Coast singer-songwriter with years of Midwest “fall down, get up, dust off, and do it again” determination. A champion of everyday heroes, his soulful, melodic music chronicles the struggles and redemption of the lost, the found, the deserted, and the delivered.  

In 1996 Shannon was introduced to Cleveland's Favorite Son, Michael Stanley, sparking a musical partnership, decades-long mentorship, and friendship.  He was a member of Michael Stanley & The Resonators for 25 years, appearing on 23 albums. 

Shannon has released three solo albums and several singles. His 2008 blues-centered debut album Any Ordinary Man was produced by Michael Stanley for Line Level Music. In 2018, Shannon released Walk This Road, produced by Ryan Humbert of the Akron-based honky tonk band the Shootouts. The album featured contributions from other Northeast Ohio artists, including Welshly Arms, the Vindys, and Ray Flanagan. In 2021, Shannon released his third album Lucky 7, again produced by Humbert, to commemorate his seven years of sobriety with seven “fun, funky pandemic-born songs.

Brent Kirby is a night's stroll with a rock n' roll romantic. This does not mean Kirby's merely a smitten troubadour, or a bard for the wayward but colorful life of musicians. Though his own songs bring up those immortal topics, Kirby's romanticism is much bigger than that. His songs start with the introspective stir of strum and voice, but just like his performances, quickly move outward and embrace the listener. Kirby, who grew up in Wisconsin and has lived playing music in places as varied as Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cleveland, has acquired a keen narrator's eye. Playing bars and clubs since his early teens, his lyrics dictate life in the moment, not as nightly grinds, but as places where dreams really come to life in gritty color.

Brent Kirby’s been called by many of his peers one of Cleveland’s hardest working musicians and his actions prove that. In 2022, Brent was voted “Best Folk” by the Cleveland Music Awards and nominated for “Best Songwriter” by the Cleveland Scene. In 2013, the “Best Singer” and also “Best Male Vocal” by the Cleveland Scene, and 2012, he was voted “Best Musician”. When he is not playing solo or with his solo band, he writes the tunes and fronts the Jack Fords (2007, 2009 Best Rock Band Cleveland Scene), leads the monthly revival of Gram Parsons with his band The New Soft Shoe, and plays drums for Doug McKean and The Stuntmen, and the talented Cleveland holiday band, the Ohio City Singers. His 10 x 3 Songwriter showcase weekly series at the Bop Stop has created an encouraging, vibrant original music scene.