Mike Hellman is a country and americana troubadour with a bent for the unconventional. Slinging songs with substance, conviction and grit, he’s on a mission to tell his truth and he insists on being heard. While firmly rooted in the rich country and blues traditions of his home state of Texas, he refuses to pander to cliché and his sound is anything but predictable. His lively performances swing from ballad to barn burner to outright rock ‘n’ roll, and his rich baritone conjures earnestness and humor while dealing head-on with all aspects of the human condition (and with a not-so-subtle nod to the underdog). An “outlaw” for outlaws, Mike's music transcends the often narrow boundaries set by the mainstream country music establishment.
Mike’s musical journey began when he was 11 years old. His parents saved up and bought him a used Hondo guitar from a pawn shop in rural East Texas, and he taught himself to play with a little help from blues and metal guitarists who lived in the neighborhood. By the time he was 15, he was writing songs and booking gigs for his punk rock bands all over Texas, Oklahoma and in Mexican border towns. Through young adulthood, his musical pursuits were put on hold while he followed love around the country, endured heartbreak, struggled to make ends meet and organized his fellow workers wherever he could—all of which generated rich life lessons and a great deal to write about. His coming of age led him back to songwriting, with lots to say and with new determination. He began gigging and recording again in Northern California, quickly making a name for himself with his hook-ridden songs and rollicking performances.
No stranger to the stage, Mike has performed at big name venues, honky-tonks, dives and intimate listening rooms throughout Texas and the western states, building a dedicated following along the way. He has wow’ed the crowds at such venues as Great American Music Hall, Moe’s Alley and Thee Parkside alongside artists such as Jason Eady, Waylon Payne, Jesse Daniel and countless others.
Mike released three singles in 2021-22, which have enjoyed enthusiastic reception on Gimme Country, NPR, Pacifica and independent radio stations across the United States and Europe. His debut full length album "Trials and Triumphs" is expected in 2023, and he plans to tour extensively to support the release.
Construction worker by day and troubadour by night, Mike somehow still makes time for his many other pastimes including cyclocross, surfing, heavy metal and union organizing. He organizes the Grass Roots Music Festival, a downhome weekend event showcasing up-and-coming roots and americana artists, and is always working to build community and comraderie among artists and fans alike. Mike currently splits his time between Houston, TX and Soquel, CA.