Mr. B: Joybox Express arrives in Grand Rapids
Pianist Mr. B, aka Mark Braun, and his band, the Joybox Express, are cycling and gigging — hauling Mark’s piano and a full band’s worth of equipment – from Holland to Detroit, July 2-15th — and they’re sharing their adventures with MT blog readers.
The JBE rolled 30 miles yesterday, from Holland, in 83 degree heat. The terrain was a challenge, limiting us to a 6 mph average, factoring in resting and eating. Up and down, long rolling hills – a great day.
We were very pleasantly surprised when several passers-by recognized us, yelling out words of encouragement. This whole process is so unusual, contrary to all the normal ways of the music “business.” Almost everything we’re a part of is small; the settings are unique, bike shops, street corners, country roads. … The pleasure we feel from playing our music at unexpected times, outside of the typical venue setting, is profound. We’ll often break down and play for a single soul, lighting a smile of wonderment, and then move on.
We’re feeling strong, ready to roll into downtown Grand Rapids today. We’ll lead a group ride benefiting several local charities that provide resources to kids, just as we hoped to. We’ll start and end our ride at Founder’s Brewery, starting at 4 p.m. From 6-8 we’ll play our gig , also at Founder’s, then ride an hour at dusk back to our hotel.
Tomorrow (the fifth) is our big day in the saddle. We’ll start at 6:30 a.m. and ride 54 miles to Grand Ledge. Our No. 1 supporters, Chuck and Nadean Hillary, will meet us mid-day and bring our lunch to us. We’re loving this, thanks for following us, check joyboxexpress.com for more details of the tour. We hope to have a lot of people joining us as we progress along our route! Stay tuned.