Mr. B

Mr. B's Joybox Express / joyboxexpress.com

Mark Braun, better known to the music world as "Mr. B.," has hauled his grand piano all over America for worthy causes.  Starting on August 25, he'll be taking his good work to the people of Flint.  WEMU's David Fair spoke with Mr. B about his upcoming "Sprint 4 Flint" campaign.


One of April’s musical highlights is Mr. B’s Boogie and Blues Piano Celebration.  20 years ago, beloved blues and boogie-woogie pianist Mr. B teamed up with his mentor, pianist Bob Seeley and two more pianists for an evening of different piano combinations at a house concert.  The event sparked a dream that Mr. B made come true one year later.  Starting in 1998, the celebration expanded to The Ark for a big concert.  Over the years, the boogie-woogie, jazz and blues piano bash has grown beyond Ann Arbor to include venues in Detroit and Monroe.  The 20th Anniversary festivities start Friday, April 21st at The Detroit Institute of Arts, continue Saturday at The Ark and conclude on the 23rd at The Monroe County Public Library. 

Joybox Express
Marilyn Gouin / 89.1 WEMU

Earlier this week, drummer Pete Siers and boogie-woogie piano hero Mr. B joined Linda in the WEMU studios to talk about Pete's new record, Flea Circus ahead of their CD release concert Saturday at The Ark, their special friendship and life in general. 

Shari Kane and Dave Steele
courtesy of the artist

Warm and delicious as hot buttered cinnamon toast, as easy and relaxed as a rewarding after-dinner talk and as soothing as Sunday morning.  That’s my immediate reaction to Feels Like Home, the new album by Shari Kane and Dave Steele.  It’s a perfect complement to the couple’s first recording, Four Hands Blues.  They continue their loving exploration of classic American music including Piedmont and Delta blues along with mountain gospel, Appalachian ballads and ragtime swing guitar.  What differentiates Feels Like Home from Four Hands Blues is the home setting.  Shari and Dave actually built a home studio and took their good sweet time working through each song as we eavesdrop on their intimate conversation involving call and response from acoustic guitar to mandolin to voice.  

Artrain, Inc

Ann Arbor’s Mark “Mr. B” Braun has pedaled his custom made, 350 lbs piano bike over 1,000 miles along the Mississippi River -  the half-way point of the journey! Mr. B’s Joybox Express and his cycle team have now entered day 42 on their 2,000 mile ride spread, an effort to raise awareness on the importance of music education and physical fitness. 

The Muscatine Journal highlights Mr. B's Joybox Express visit to town. As always, stick with WEMU to keep up with The Joybox Express' Mississippi River Ride for updates throughout the whole journey!

Mr. B and the Joybox Express give us an update from the road. 

This epic 2,000-mile, 90-day bicycle trek begins at the Mississippi headwaters in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and concludes in New Orleans, Louisiana. It will visit cities, towns and villages along the Mississippi River Road to perform, educate, conduct group-rides and inspire blues, jazz and bicycling appreciation. 

www.joyboxexpress.com

                                                                                                                                                       

Drawing on the powerful time-honored tradition of traveling shows,  Mr. B’s "Joybox Express" will ride the Blues Highway beginning today and running through December.

 

Mr B at the Ann Arbor Art Fair
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

At the Ann Arbor Art Fair, the pieces on display are a feast for the eyes.  They’re accompanied by all kinds of incredible music.  


Mr. B's Joybox Express is getting ready to bike the length of the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to New Orleans this fall, and WEMU is getting ready to follow the ride.   Mark Braun, aka Mr. B., spoke with WEMU's David Fair about the project and what the Joybox entourage plans to do along the way.