Hard Candy Quintet

This hot little outfit plays a searing blend of country rock and blues with elements of boogies and swing in the mix. It’s a tope tapping big sound with a whole lot of punch that’ll take you up country, down rive and back home again.

“Hard Candy continues the strong country blues tradition founded by The Warratahs and The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. They are troubadours of blues with an obvious affection for their craft”. Review, Whanganui Chronicle.

Bob Cooper-Grundy comes your way with a trunk load of string power, gator skin boots and more hurtin’ highway songs than you’ll ever need. Stand back – this American finger picking blues exponent is hot. A real deal blues man whose fingers do the talking on guitar, slide guitar, mandolin and banjo. Based in Wairarapa.

Karen Clarke’s gutsy, smoky vocals and driving rhythm guitar make her a compelling front gal. With an onstage presence that critics describe as anything from raw to sassy, she connects with her audience through a strong, emotive performance style. This blues-loving, songwriting mama from Kapiti can sing.

Multi-instrumentalist Kate Marshall brings exceptional interpretive magic and finesse to the front line. Kate fires up the mix with commanding leads on violin, flute and accordion with ease. She trained in classical piano at Auckland University and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Kate teaches music in Carterton.

On drums is Wayne “Swampy” Morris who joins the band from home base in Taranaki. According to his mother he’s been a drummer since her third trimester of pregnancy and has been hitting things for as long as he can remember. Whether teaching percussion or performing in a range of groups he’s Mr Rhythm on box, crate or kit.

Bassist Craig Loader brings a lifetime of country music to the mix. Previously a Gold Guitar overall winner and a finalist at Tamworth Craig is from the Manawatu where he has variously lead, managed, backed and engineered sound for onstage collaborations that range from rock to reggae and all the way back to country.


Hard Candy crafts sets from a wide range of Americana-styled artists including music by Robert Earl Keen, Chris Knight, Rodney Crowell, Gillian Welsh, Dianna Kraal, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Louis Jordan through to NZ music makers like Anika Moa and Mel Parsons with indie originals as well.