By Gary E. McKee
From the October 2015 issue of Texas Polka News
Enzian Buam is one of the most fun bands you will have a close encounter with. Before I explain that remark, let’s shine some light on the band’s name. Enzium is a beautiful trumpet-shaped, deep-blue flower that grows only in the Alpine region. One of its many uses is in alcoholic beverages. Buam roughly translates into boys in an Austrian dialect.
Though the band plays some festivals and private events, they perform mostly at biergarten-styled venues where they personally interact with the audience. Sing-a-longs, multiple toasts (Prost!), and audience participation transforms listeners into part of the performance as they travel the musical globe playing everything from Alpine love songs to the Cotton-Eyed Joe.
The band was formed in 2008 by Jason Keepers and Eddie Schaible, formerly of the Walburg Boys, and a native German. The present trio led by Jason has been performing together for three years, and features Robert Herridge on fiddle and guitar, and Bill Holt thumping the bass.
Jason began playing guitar, trumpet, and his favorite, the accordion, at the age of 5. He has spent years studying Alpine music with the masters. In 1995, Jason composed a song for his mother, Katherine’s Waltz 95, which is now a dance hall standard in Texas.
One of his strongest musical talents lies in his yodeling abilities. Jason’s Alpine-style yodeling adds another instrument to the band and gives a unique layer to their songs.
Robert, master fiddler, assisted with reviving a Sängerbund (German singing society) in Bellville, and is a past president of the Texas German Society. His fiddling background is lengthy and includes 14 years with Gilley’s House Band during the Urban Cowboy phenomena and many years with Santa’s Wonderland in College Station, where this year for the first time, Enzian Buam will be playing German Christmas music on Christmas Eve and Christmas night.
Which brings us to the “Tuba Kidd,” Bill Holt. Bill began playing tuba at the age of 11. At the tender age of 14, Accordionist Gene Hackemack bestowed this nickname upon Bill. His abilities have allowed him to be inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame.
Bill performs with many symphonies and wind ensembles, plays the country opry circuit, and sits in with The Cowboy Jazz Band, Billy Mata, The Travelers, Round Top Brass Band, just to name a few.
They've Got Your Number
Enzian Buam’s extensive repertoire enables them to play anywhere and everywhere. At a recent performance, where the senior citizen crowds were bussed in, the trio conferred for a minute and broke out into Minor Swing, a classic by The Hot Club of Paris from the 1930s.
So for a good time catch Enzian Buam at Kemah’s Oktoberfest, the TCHCC Heritage Fest and Muziky in La Grange October 17, and at their regular weekend gig at the King's Biergarten in Pearland.