Mr. B: Joybox Express arrives in Grand Rapids

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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.

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