Blues musician to perform in Hancock

 Blues, jazz and boogie woogie musician Mark Braun plays piano during a stop on his Mr. B’s Joybox Express tour, in which the piano he’s playing was pulled the entire length of the Mississippi River by bike.

Blues, jazz and boogie woogie musician Mark Braun plays piano during a stop on his Mr. B’s Joybox Express tour, in which the piano he’s playing was pulled the entire length of the Mississippi River by bike.

Accomplished blues, jazz and boogie woogie musician Mark Braun will arrive in Hancock mid-February to perform as well as speak with students at Hancock High School.

Braun has performed for 40 years throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Central and South America. He appears as a sideman on Grammy nominated blues recordings, and has produced over a dozen recordings as a leader.

“In my case, I’ve always loved music,” Braun said, adding he was taught blues and boogie woogie music at a young age from some of the genre’s masters. “It’s my chance to repay the favor and try to interest some people in some really outstanding American traditions.”

Braun showcased that love of boogie woogie during his 2014 Mr. B’s Joybox Express tour, which saw him bike the entire length of the Mississippi River, stopping in towns along the way to perform and fundraise for local charitable organizations. A special bike was rigged up to carry Braun’s nearly 400 pound piano.

Braun said he hopes the tour inspired kids to celebrate their own inner visions and let them know that anytime is the right time to dream.

“What we did was a pretty outrageous physical feat and pretty whimsical and difficult to execute,” he said. “It makes people feel as if their own dreams and ambitions are more within reach than they ever thought.”

Braun said he is currently planning another Joybox Express tour for 2017.

In the meantime, he will continue to perform blues, jazz and boogie woogie throughout the country, and will make a February 18 stop at Hancock’s Orpheum Theatre.

Braun said anyone looking for “a massive dose of piano blues and boogie woogie,” should stop by the concert. Tickets are available at the door, which will open at 8 p.m. The concert begins at 8:30 p.m.

Visit www.joyboxexpress.com for more information on Braun or Mr. B’s Joybox Express. For information on Braun’s upcoming Hancock concert, visit the Orpheum Theatre’s Facebook page.

— MM

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