The Swindles

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Critic's Pick Release Date: 2008-12-24

Mitch Webb keeps pythons in his home, so the notion of playing rootsy rock in front of some beer-addled bar patrons doesn’t faze the leader of the Swindles.

Webb is a veteran presence on the local club scene, but he’s on something of a roll these days, with his band’s latest album, Lonely Kind, hitting the Top 30 on the Americana Music Association’s album chart and at one point receiving nearly 200 radio spins in a single week.

Pick your definitions: This band either plays rock with a twang, or country music that rocks. Ultimately, they’re too busy raising a ruckus to worry about semantics.

On Lonely Kind standouts such as “West Coast Blues,” Webb and his group — which includes nonpareil guitar slinger Joe Reyes — play country music the way God intended: rocking, accessible, tuneful, polished but not slick, and loaded with hard-luck stories and sad regrets. If Americana radio airplay is inducing people to discover buried treasures such as “Blubberball” and “Poison Bed,” we’re all the better for it. 10 p.m. Saturday, December 27, Casbeers at the Church, 1150 South Alamo, (210) 271-7791, casbeers.com.

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