Public News (Houston) - - FRONT PAGE - by Mark Cramp­ton

I have seen/heard (there is no “The”, it is just) Blaggards [] dozens of times over the past five or six years, at Celtic and Ir­ish Mu­sic Fes­ti­vals, and lo­cal clubs both.

[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!

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.

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!

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