Bios

Please see the Press Kit page for a downloadable bio and other promotional materials.

Mark Carroll "Buffalo Bill"- Fiddles and Vocals

The cast of characters is led by fiddler and lead vocalist Mark Carroll, who received his Buffalo Bill nickname because he looks like the one and only Buffalo Bill Cody. See him stomp a Texas two-step while doe-si-doe’ing around the heart of classic Kentucky bluegrass . Armed with fiddle and mandolin, Carroll’s tunes raise hairs on the back of yer neck as if in an old fashioned stand-off, that inspires a whole lotta drinkin’ and dancin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’ along the way.

Gregg Bigsby "The Banjo Maniac" - Banjo

Banjo Maniac aka Gregg Bigsby, brings a Texas influence to his banjo. “The original, unique ‘celebration’ rhythm that I play comes from my R & B background in the 60's. When I first started playing the banjo in 1969 I met Blues Great Mance Lipscomb who invited me to play with him at a local Saturday night dance in Washington On-The-Brazos, Texas and that eye-opening visit made a lasting impression on me and my banjo playing.”

The alliance of Mark Carroll and Gregg Bigsby started as far back as 1972 while hitchhiking through Texas and Louisiana playing a mix of traditional country, Texas blues and folk, fiddle tunes, Cajun, bluegrass, and western. In September of that year, The Willie Nelson entourage picked up the two hitchhiking from Aspen to Santa Fe. With Bigsby on banjo and Carroll on string bass they were invited to the show where they played as a duo and then followed a set with Nelson playing his soon to be hit single, “Good old Mountain Dew”.

Jens Zerle the Tallest Bavarian Bluegrass double bass player

Born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Jens started playing music at the age of 15, after stealing an acoustic guitar hanging on the wall in a Bavarian restaurant.  One hour later he traded the guitar for an e-bass from his friend.  They both decided to form the band Mountain Jam.  They played cover songs from the Rolling Stones, JJ Cale, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers Band.  After 8 years the band split and Jens went to India and Nepal to travel and play music with local musicians in cities and villages. 
In 1997 he lived in a commune and there at a campfire was the start of the band Edelweiss-Bluegrass from Garmisch, which he still plays with.
In 2005 Jens met Mark Carroll and Gregg Bigsby in Garmisch at a Jam Session at the Underground Bar.  “The first time when I played with Gregg and Mark I was really thinking what the hell is going on now?  Mark was playing the fiddle, singing and stomping at the same time, Greg stomped too and flipping the neck of his banjo up and down. Lots of the tunes were really high speed and full of energy.  I tried my best to follow them, some songs I knew, others I didn’t, but it was a great session and we had a lot of fun and we decided for the next day to find a guitar player.” 
In the summer of  2006 Jens traveled to Haines, Alaska to go commercial fishing and be a part of the Fishpicker CD.
Jens has played with the following bands:

  • Mountain Jam; Rock, Blues, Germany
  • Harmonica Lewensky Band, Blues, Thailand
  • Swing and Cia, Gypsy Jazz, Spain
  • Village Affair, Blues, Germany
  • 16 Strings, Jazz, Gypsy Jazz, Bossa Nova, Germany
  • Jazzband and the Healing Horns, Jazz, Germany
  • Edelweiss Bluegrass, Rock, Blues, Folk, Germany
  • Fishpickers, Folk, Bluegrass, Alaska
  • Buffalo Bill and his Bavarian Beer Hunters, Germany

“I like every kind of music and I am open for it when it touches my heart and my soul and it is handmade. I don’t give a thing about politics, religions or who plays better, as soon everybody has fun and you don’t have to think anymore what you play and the communication between the musicians and the audience shines in the same spot and in the same level, that’s a great gift for everybody there then."

Ben "Doctor Milk" Esen - percussion

Ben comes from Munich, Germany and is a drummer extraordinaire!

Uwe Schmidt, "The Bavarian Cowboy"  - guitar

Born in the southwest of Bavaria, Uwe started learning violin at the age of eleven -- producing more noise than music, then later he changed to guitar. He moved to Munich at the age of twenty and learned how to play from some guitar cracks like Helmut Nieberle and Peter Wölpl. At the same time, he studied technical physics and worked for seven years at the biggest telephone company. Then he quit his job and traveled through Europe with his guitar by motorbike (faster than horseriding) playing music everywhere he got the chance.

He was a member of many groups: namely, Hot Lips (a Dixie and Swing Band) Jorge Gonzales Band (a singer songwriter from New York playing Soul and Latin) Radiator (a hard rock band) The Whole Shebang (a Blues band), Hart an der Grenze (Independent and punky style) and others. Four years ago he met Mark and Jens and was hired to play guitar. Since then, he has rocked together with the Beerhunters in Bavaria and everywhere else that comes along, firing his tones out of his blue Berta: sometimes like bullets out of a machine gun, sometimes like a flying lasso. He also plays lap-steel, bass, harp, and sixstring banjo.