Born in Detroit, vocalist Pat Smillie grew up as an avid music collector whose earliest musical influences included Motor City artists such as Wilson Pickett, Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, and The Temptations.
In 1992, Smillie moved to Chicago where he cut his teeth as a live performer on Chicago's hard-scrabble south and west sides. It was during an early residency, at the legendary Checkerboard Lounge, that Smillie cemented his reputation as a powerhouse vocalist.
In 2011, Smillie and his band embarked on a 3-week tour of eastern Europe and performed at the Blues Alive Festival (in Sumperk, CZ). Over the years, Pat Smillie has served as an opening act on shows and festivals for music legends including Robert Cray, Koko Taylor, Bobby Rush, Andre Williams, Mitch Ryder, and Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band.
In 2015, Pat Smillie moved back to his hometown of Detroit, MI. He currently serves a monthly residency at Northern Lights Lounge performing with legendary Motown guitarist, Dennis Coffey. Coffey's 1971 solo instrumental hit "Scorpio" sold over a million copies and is widely considered an r&b / funk classic.
In addition to fronting his own band, Pat Smillie regularly performs with renowned Detroit rock & roll guitarist Jim McCarty (formerly of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Cactus, & The Rockets). McCarty and Smillie frequently perform together during the summer festival season and at occasional special events.
In 2019, Smillie was one of six finalists nominated for a Detroit Music Award (DMA) for "Outstanding Blues Vocalist".
Pat Smillie's latest release "LONESOME FOR A LONG TIME" (Fat Bank Music) features his first new recordings in over a decade! The album showcases Smillie's whiskey-soaked tenor (and mature songwriting) to fine effect. His vocals conjure that unique blend of rock & roll and soul music that has long served as the cornerstone of Detroit's rich musical heritage. This record has a classic feel.