Blaggards (no “the”, pronounced BLA’ GUARDS or BLA’ GHERDS, depending on where you’re from) formed July 2004 in Houston, Texas.
We play what we call Stout Irish Rock, traditional Irish music mixed with rock n’ roll, informed by everything from Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley to Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath. We are most frequently compared to bands like Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, and the Pogues.
Blaggards are vocalists Patrick Devlin (guitar) and Chad Smalley (bass), plus fiddler Bonnie Riley and drummer Michael McAloon.
Front man Patrick Devlin grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and moved to Houston in his early 20′s. After working in the local club scene for several years, Patrick saw a demand for Irish rock music that nobody was taking advantage of. In 1996, to this end he formed a band called On The Dole. Although the band did well, opening for legendary Irish touring acts like the Wolfe Tones and the Saw Doctors, eventually Patrick decided it was time to clear the decks and start again.
In 2003, while hosting a weekly open mic at an Irish pub, Patrick met bassist and singer Chad Smalley, who had recently returned from New York City and was looking for a new project. The two began singing and performing together, developing a tight vocal harmony style. A year later, Blaggards was born.
Michael, a first generation Scot-American, grew up learning Irish step dancing, winning gold medals all across the United States before picking up the drums at age 13. A veteran of the Houston music scene, Mike has toured the country many times and studied jazz at the University of North Texas. Mike joined Blaggards in early 2009.
Bonnie Riley began playing fiddle at age 11 and frequently travelled to fiddling competitions around the country with her father, musician P.T. Riley. She has won the South Texas International Fiddle Championship, the Oklahoma State Adult Division, and placed highly in national and Texas state competitions. Bonnie has played with dozens of award-winning artists and is also a featured performer on the Penny Gilley Show, a weekly program which broadcasts internationally on RFD-TV. Bonnie joined Blaggards in October 2012, just in time for our third annual Worldwide Tour of Ireland.
Blaggards maintain a rigorous schedule, playing constantly throughout Texas and touring nationally several times a year. We’ve also toured Ireland every year since 2010, and will be returning in October 2013.
“Big Strong Man” from our first CD, Standards, appears in the film The Kid, directed by Nick Moran (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), and based on the best-selling book by Kevin Lewis.
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