Russ Franzen - Great Lakes History in Song

         An award-winning writer and columnist, Russ Franzen is a 1985 (1977, actually, but that is a long story) graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

After 14 years in Radio and Television, I turned my attention to the print media. I also worked in Michigan's district court  system as a Magistrate and Court Administrator.

  A few years ago, I wrote a couple of local history songs for a school program. They were so well received, I wrote a few more. In another year, I performed at the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival. After that, my songs were all about the history of life along the Great Lakes. All of the songs I perform are my own. 

  As a Certified Interpretive Guide, this is my sixth season working on the canal boat, The Volunteer, at Providence Metropark, bringing canal history to life through story and song.  


In 100 Words -


Russ Franzen is a simple acoustic storyteller. The stories he tells are original songs of lighthouses, lake boats, shipwrecks, canals, and life along the Great Lakes. He grew up in Illinois and moved to Michigan to work in radio and now lives in Ohio. He authored three history books and recorded five albums. Before he started writing and performing stories of Great Lakes history in song, he was a historian and award-winning newspaper columnist. A Certified Interpretive Guide, he now plays his solo acoustic music for house concerts, festivals, schools, and community groups in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

My Brochure




Russ Franzen, Great Lakes Balladeer