BLAGGARDS - STOUT IRISH ROCK
I have seen/heard (there is no “The”, it is just) Blaggards [http://blaggards.com] dozens of times over the past five or six years, at Celtic and Irish Music Festivals, and local clubs both. https://youtu.be/_VOLkByDqgE
[Note: One memorable weekend a couple of years ago, I even worked as stagehand for them – helping them unload and load their van and set up their equipment! I was volunteering at the San Antonio Highland Games & Celtic Music Festival, working backstage at the music stage, and they were playing that Festival!]
I have talked to Patrick, Chad and Michael – and their then fiddler, Brittney - personally at different gigs they were playing, and I have to say that they are very approachable, likeable people (hey, I have met some musicians – especially when I worked at the Woodlands Pavilion - who were certified jerks, you know?)
Getting background from these people, well, their stories are pretty simple, just guys and girls who LIKE playing Irish Rock for their fans and appreciate that their fans like them and their music!
Blaggards play what they call “Stout Irish Rock”. Based on traditional Irish folk music and Irish Rebel music, Scotch-Irish folk music, Appalachian hill music, as well as American rock and country music, it is heavy on fiddle, but with a hard rock twist of electric guitars and drums! https://youtu.be/Hu6wSIAjWuc
Blaggards was formed in Houston in 2004 by Lead Guitar / Vocalist Patrick Devlin and Bass Guitar / Vocalist Chad Smalley.
Patrick was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and his musical background is chiefly heavy metal! He moved to Houston in ’94, playing solo around various clubs there.
It’s funny to watch Patrick getting ready to play – he just looks like any tall lanky good ol’ boy cowboy – jeans, boots, cowboy hat – while setting up and tuning up. Once Patrick is ready to play, though – his hat comes off, he shakes out his waist-length hair - and SHAZAM! - he turns into SUPER ROCKER and goes CRAZY!
Patrick had first formed an Irish group in Houston in ‘96 named On the Dole, but they weren’t really successful, although they did open a few shows for national Irish music groups. After a few years On the Dole disbanded, and Patrick returned solo to the Houston club circuit – primarily Irish pubs, of course!
Chad is a veteran Houston musician, but had been in NYC for several years, and on his return to Houston was also playing the club circuit solo. [Note: Chad is the son of former Rice University Professor and Nobel Prize winning Physist/ Chemist Dr. Richard Smalley – the man who discovered Buckyballs – and thus gave us the Peter Weller/Jeff Goldblum movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! If you never saw this movie or don’t recall it, look it up - it’s pretty bad! Thank you for that, Dr. Smalley!]
Patrick met Chad at one of the Houston Irish clubs in ’03, and they began playing as a duo, developing a music style together. Anyway, in ’04 Blaggards was formed with Patrick, Chad, violinist Turi Hoiseth, and drum-
mer Brian Vogel, and the group hasn’t taken a minute’s rest since!
Blaggards are on their second drummer – forming member Brian Vogel left in ‘09, to be replaced by Michael McAloon.
Michael has 2nd generation Scot heritage and is another Houston music scene veteran. As a youth he actually was a professional award-winning Irish Step Dancer, before beginning taking up the drums as a teen. His professional musical training is in jazz.
Blaggards have had several fiddlers over the years after Turi left, both full time and sit-ins, but Wes Barlow joined them permanently just two months ago. Wes is from Memphis, and was a distinguished classical violinist, who then went on to play in several Texas country bands. He plays a great violin AND a wicked fiddle!
So Blaggards music is a fusion of Irish with heavy metal, classical, jazz, and country!
Blaggards tour extensively, both in Texas and internationally, as well as maintaining their home fan base in Southeast Texas Pubs and clubs. https://youtu.be/q9t6tlfHIbc
For the past six years, Blaggards also hosted a Musical tour of Ireland every year. Check their website. http://blaggards. com
They also play many of the local Celtic/Irish Music Festivals, such as Austin, San Antonio and Sherwood Forest. Again, go to their website.
This year, Blaggards are hosting two special St. Patrick’s Day events:
03/16/17 Paddy’s Day Eve
Kenneally’s Irish Pub, 7:00pm 2111 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 713-630-0486 and
03/17/17 Paddy’s Day
O’Bannon’s Taphouse, 5:00pm 103 Boyett Street, College Station, TX 979-846-9214 No Cover!