Calgary, Alberta's the Tightners play a spirited brand of folk and blues-influenced rock that at times recalls a Canadian prairie version of the heartland rock of Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen and at others recalls the streamlined blues-rock of Robert Cray. A good old-fashioned bar band, the Tightners (their name even comes from a local slang term for beer and other drinks made to get one "tight") are an unpretentious lot who are out to make music, not art. The title "Barley, Butts, and a Broken Heart" pretty much spells out their world view, and a kind of blue-collar melancholy suffuses much of this disc, released in 1999 as a benefit for the Canadian Lymphoma Research Foundation. The title track, "Magical Lady," is a tender tribute to Patricia Manson, the foundation's founder and president, who died of the disease in May 1999.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason