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 consists of vocalists Patrick Devlin (guitar) and Chad Smalley (bass), plus fiddler Chris Buckley 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.
Chris Buckley, an accomplished fiddler who has won first place awards in the Midwestern Fleadh Cheoil and competed in two All-Ireland world competitions, came to Austin by way of Minneapolis, MN, where he performed in local Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis pubs. In late 2007, Chris became a Blaggard, followed by drummer Michael McAloon in 2009.
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.
Blaggards have toured the East Coast several times, along with visits to Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. We’ve opened for Gaelic Storm, Brave Combo, Brother, Cowboy Mouth, David Allan Coe, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, James McMurtry, and Royal Crown Revue.
We toured Ireland for the first time in March 2010, and plan to make it an annual thing from now on.