On a sleepy, dim-lit street, the ensemble plays in a warm Lakewood second floor house apartment. Outside, the wind is howling, but inside, the harmonica is blowing by Jason Martynowski. Bassist, Matt Sofranko, sets the groove contouring in and out of guitarist, Pat Mulloy’s foot-stompin’ strumming, as The Smug Saints conclude on “Boom Town” – a saunter of a night out in Cleveland.
“We started as thieves,” Sofranko banters with his other Smug cohorts. He’s referring to a light fixture that when lit reads, “Partying” and was acquired from an old friend. It appears illustrated on their debut album on top of an amp, proclaiming what the band’s about: music and having fun.
“A lot of our music is about having a good time,” Mulloy proclaimed.
On the folk-rock, with a shot of Irish whiskey, track, “Altoona”, Sofranka lays a running bass line, with drummer, Mark Whalen, chugging at his side on the drum. Martynowski winds up on the harmonica, for another head-boppin’ brigade.
Their catalog is chalk full of good time songs, as positive and relatable as O.A.R., with the humor and songwriting of Barenaked Ladies and the grit of Old Crow Medicine Show.
“I absolutely love it when an audience member comes up to us after a show, and says ‘I had a blast,'” Mulloy added. “That’s the goal.”
The quartet have been playing together for over a year now, with an occasional lead-guitarist, with each Saint heralding from their own unique and trained musical background.
This past summer, The Smug Saints played an onslaught of shows around Cleveland, including opening up for Houndmouth at The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern.
“We’ve been going to Beachland all of our lives,” Martynowski exclaimed. “That’s where all the cool bands played. It was a dream to play there.”
As they slow down for the season, the band will be taking a short hiatus, with mostly acoustic shows between Mulloy and Martynowski.
In the mean time, they’ll be writing more music and keeping the vibe alive that is shared amongst all Clevelanders: for their city and the night.
“We’ve had a good reception,” explained Safronka, “and I’ve always had a feeling of gratitude to play with these guys. I just want to know I’ll still be playing in five years, and with them.”
Band: The Smug Saints
Album: Debut, Self-Titled, The Smug Saints
Venues: Lakewood, Tremont
Vibe: Rock, Alt-Country
Check ’em out on: Spotify, iTunes, Facebook
Image via The Smug Saints