Briggs comes home to play local gigs

Mark Briggs misses Mahoning Valley audiences.

”The culture is a lot different here,” Briggs said. ”People like good dance music here, whereas down there, they just sit and listen. They don’t get up and dance much.”

”Down there” is the St. Augustine, Fla., area, where the 1978 LaBrae High School graduate has called home for the last seven years.

Before moving to Florida, Briggs played with such local bands as Breakaway, Cruise Control and the Woodie Harris Show. And he tries to get home once a year to see family (including a new grandson this trip) and play some music for those local crowds.

Last weekend he played Lucky Inn in Leavittsburg, and this weekend he has shows booked at 10 a.m. Friday at Chesty’s Blue Collar Tavern, 20 S. State St., Girard, and at 9 p.m. Saturday at Uncle Sil’s, 2774 Youngstown Road S.E., Warren, before heading back to Florida.

Briggs will be playing classic rock favorites and originals, including songs from his upcoming CD, ”The Road Ahead.” He’ll have pre-release copies available at the show, but the official pressing won’t be done until later this year.

In addition to playing out as a solo artist, Briggs also has been producing other acts (he produced Warren singer Madam Weez’s 2011 release ”Mystic Blues”), and his work with a singer in Florida is one of the reasons he didn’t get his own album finished before the trip north.

Briggs, who lists The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Eagles among his influences, had a hard time categorizing his originals.

”They’re rock, but they’re not hard rock,” Briggs said. ”A couple are country rock, some are bluesy rock and others are whatever.”

He credited his family with fostering his love of music.

”I had a some older sisters who used to bring rock ‘n’ roll records into the house when I was growing up in the ’60s. And my mom was a big fan of rock ‘n’ roll too. She loved Roy Orbison and so do I.”