Dave Hellens Talks Hardrive

by | 6 Jul, 2011 | 3 comments

Fire in the Belly for Traditional Bluegrass –

Hardrive’s newest band member Dave Hellen’s bluegrass banjo extraordinaire shares with the Australian Bluegrass Blog the band’s latest news and why after over 20 years he’s still as passionate as ever about playing traditional bluegrass music. Hardrive Bluegrass Band have recently released a new CD and DVD and will also play the Redlands Bluegrass Festival, in Queensland 8th -10th July 2011.

Featuring high-lonesome vocals and fine instrumentals the Hardrive Bluegrass Band’s is a hard hitting traditional bluegrass ensemble.

Dave Hellens, from Newcastle has played with many top musicians both in Australia and the US and has won Australian banjo championships and came 2nd in the Rocky Grass banjo comp in 2008 (Colorado USA). He with us about his dedication to playing Traditional Bluegrass an d his experiences:

Bluegrass is similar to jazz in a lot of ways where you can play the typical standard tunes yet play them at varying levels of complexity and continue to refine your technique regardless of how long you’ve been playing them. There are so many tunes,  you’ll never know all of them and I’m always discovering new things in my playing and new possibilities even within the same songs.

If you’re going to stick to tradition then you need to capture that power, timing and hard-driving rhythm like the Hardrive Bluegrass Band can. Playing Traditional Bluegrass is a lot harder than it looks and it’s great playing with a band that capture the real essence of this style of music. I sometimes strike a perception in the general community that the banjo is an instrument that adds a kind of knee slapping novelty to a country song.  The Hardrive guys have high demands of their banjo player that would bury that perception 6 feet under.

Hardrive consists of Nick Dear on fiddle and mandolin, Dave Hellens on banjo, Lachlan Dear on guitar and Matt Ryan on double bass.

For more information see Hardrive’s website.


  1. Karina Crannitch

    And don’t forget Justin Price-Rees on fiddle!

  2. Greg McGrath

    I am pleased to see an Australian Bluegrass band taking the initiative to promote themselves on the Australian Bluegrass Blog. It happens so rarely.


  3. John Werner

    Loved this post. Dave is a freak (in the nicest possible way), and deserves to have his talents featured in this hot band.

    I was fortunate enough to see Hardrive’s Sat night performance at Harrietville last year, up close from the side of stage.

    I was absolutely knocked out by the fire and intensity in the music, both individually and as a collective unit. The type of feeling that leaves you a little out of breath, even though you’ve just been sitting there watching. Best set for the weekend I reckon.

    Australia’s top-line bluegrass bands all have their own unique sound, with each providing something different for listener, and we in the Fraternity (and Sorority!) are all the better for having access to them.

    For the serious aficianado, Hardrive’s traditional presentation combined with their great instrumental skills, makes them truly worthy of their name.