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Unplugged .. Backbeat driversBackbeat Drivers

The band is something of a legend in Canberra - we've been together (same lineup) since 1988.

We're a guitar & harp-based blues / R&B band that people say sounds like a mix of Charlie Musslewhite, Fabulous Thunderbirds and Little Charlie and the Nightcats.

Our original songs draw on all the usual blues influences but their subjects range widely - party time, clothing styles, impulse, philosophy, new-age, floods, hope and regret along with the usual blues themes of joy, loss and relationships.

Our cover songs are chosen, perhaps because a particular band member likes them or they want to do something by an artist they admire. Other times, someone has requested the song for an event or, at rehearsal, a song had an interesting feel or a good lyric.

We play music because we love it and, hopefully, to earn a place in your music collection.

Steve, Mike, Doc & Ben.

STEVE HARTNETT - vocal, harmonica, guitar

After messing about playing folk, blues and jug band music with friends and acquaintances for a while, Steve moved into pro-am Blues & R&B bands in Canberra in the early 1980's before forming the Backbeat Drivers in '88. He is an inaugural member of the Canberra Blues Society.

MICHAEL HARDY - guitar, vocals

Mike's musical career began as a 'cellist in the late 70's and progressed to playing in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the early 80's. In the mid-80's he switched to electric guitar and played with several blues and rock bands in Brisbane before moving to Canberra where with Steve, Ben, and Doc he formed the Backbeat Drivers. He is an inaugural member of the Canberra Blues Society.

BEN CONNELLY - bass, vocals

Ben spent his teenage years in the '60s, happily influenced by the British pop music of that era. He played 6-string lead/rhythm (of sorts) in local clubs, pubs and youth groups, then stopped. In the late '80s he took to playing bass and joined the other members of the Backbeat Drivers.


Doc's youth was influenced first by the big band jazz/swing sounds that various family members were involved with and then by the Rock & Roll of the 60's and his own classical piano training. In the mid-80's he joined a large 7-8 piece outfit playing Chicago style rhythm & blues covers. It folded in 1988 and the Backbeat Drivers came into being not long after.