About

Photo by Rae McAloon

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 guitarist/vocalist Patrick Devlin, bassist/vocalist Chad Smalley, drummer Michael McAloon, and fiddler Wes Barlow.

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, a veteran of the Houston music scene who had recently returned from New York and was looking for a new project. The two of them soon began singing and performing together every week, 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 January 2009.

Wes Barlow, born in Memphis, Tennessee, and started playing violin when he was ten years old. After relocating to Texas in the 5th grade, he realized that the fiddle was his calling. He started playing in Texas country bands when he was 16, has won several national classical music competitions and performed on multiple albums. Wes joined Blaggards in January 2017.

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.

Our music has appeared in movies and TV. An original instrumental entitled “Kerfuffleful” appears in the New Line Cinema motion picture How to Be Single, released February 2016.

“Drunken Sailor” and “Big Strong Man” from our first CD, Standards, were both featured in episode 86 of the CBS series The Good Wife, aired on March 24, 2013.

“Big Strong Man” also appears in the British film The Kid, directed by Nick Moran and based on the best-selling book by Kevin Lewis.