About Mark “Muleman” Massey

Hard time leads to hard blues. That’s the story behind Mark “Mule Man” Massey. Growing up in the cradle of the Delta blues, Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mark Massey heard plenty of blues. But it took a stretch in Parchman Prison for Mark to discover the blues’ deeper meaning. It was there he met and befriended David Kimbrough, son of legendary Mississippi blues icon, Junior Kimbrough, who taught him the basics of the blues and got him a spot in the Parchman Prison Band. Upon his release, Mark was determined to turn his negative experience into a positive. In the early 1990s – when he wasn’t busy with farm work (hence the name “Mule Man”) – he began his career as a blues guitarist and singer playing every dive and juke joint he could in northern Mississippi. Eventually he honed his skills well enough to play in the International Blues Competition as well as the better blues clubs like B.B. King’s on Beale Street and Morgan Freeman’s “Ground Zero.” Along the way, he received support and encouragement from many regional musicians including longtime friend of the Center for Southern Folklore and blues harmonica player extraordinaire Blind Mississippi Morris. Morris schooled Mark in the rich legacy of the blues masters who came before him. As Mark puts it, because of Morris, “Today when I play their music, I can really feel those guys. I keep playing because I want to keep their songs alive.”