-Chris’ Take- Blaggards: Standards

I have always wanted to travel to other countries and at the top of my list since I was a little kid, has always been Ireland. I have always imagined it as an old country with centuries of history well balanced with modern culture; the trip, a week-long stay in Dublin, or Belfast, sightseeing and enjoying some Guinness in a local pub down the street from the hotel, and if you’re lucky, a show at a pub, of some good Irish rock music.  Imagine you’re there, everyone in the in the place raising mugs of ale and singing along to the rhythmic traditional Irish music with a modern rock twist when suddenly you realize that you’re watching the energetic band Blaggards and it’s not Ireland you’re in, but a bar in Houston, Texas.

Playing the self-described “Stout Irish Rock, traditional Irish music mixed with rock n’ roll,” Blaggardsformed in 2004 in Houston, Texas.  Ireland native, Patrick Devlin on guitar and lends his voice to vocals along with Chad Smalley on bass, while fiddler Brandi Belle Clarke, guitarist Bryce Clarke, and drummer Michael McAloon provide the musical accompaniments.  Blaggards plays in venues and barrooms across Texas and the nation, rocking patrons out with melodies combining Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues with the Irish Ballad Fields of Athenry and Elvis’s Suspicious Minds with a measure of reggae thrown in the mix, as well as classic Irish folksongs, including, Drunken Sailor, Rocky Road to Dublin, Botany Bay and Foggy Dew.

Blaggards debut album Standards, was released in 2005 from NFA Recordings.  It is a collection of the bands most popular cover songs and adaptations of traditional Irish melodies. They are played at concerts and barrooms across Texas and nationally. Energetic and often times fast paced enough to leave you exhausted just listening to it, songs like Foggy Dew, Drunken Sailor, Bog Songs and Irish Rover have a building fever pitch of drums and guitar with the Irish sound of the fiddle racing through each song, that carry the tune into your head and leave your foot tapping.  All of the tracks on the album are addicting with some of them being hilarious and others moving you along with the music.

In 2010, they released Live from Texas, recorded at of one of their many concerts. The album includes several tracks which appeared on Standards.  Their music is even more irresistible on the live album and you can hear the excitement in the music that just isn’t there in the studio version.  They also have several videos on Youtube of their performances for anyone who is unsure about going to a concert, to check out.

Whether you buy the studio or live album, catch them on their annual tour of Ireland or see them in one of their many concerts in Texas and across the country, Blaggards will deliver a mug raising, body bumping good time, with music that will infect your brain and leave you crying in your ale for more.

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