Heath Green and the Makeshifters: Heath Green and the Makeshifters


God Bless Alabama, its clay, or whatever the hell else it may be that incites these grooves.

Heath Green and the Makeshifters

Heath Green and the Makeshifters

Label: Alive Natural Sound
US Release Date: 2017-03-03
UK Release Date: 2017-03-03

Every now and again you throw the CD in, or needle the wax, or, hell, click on something that transports you from that very space in which you sit. Heath Green and company do this in spades on their Alive Natural Sound self-titled debut, Heath Green and the Makeshifters. Like the Black Crowes before ego, money, and a heavy Vox trip, Green channels Redding, Cocker, maybe a splash of Chris Robinson’s bluesy soul, and copious amounts of Alabama-bred rockin’ and rollin’.

Birmingham has spawned many a band with a scene rich in talent and wanderlust. Feeding off years of sensationalized civil unrest and a stately history of red-dusted musical standouts, it was only a matter of time before Green found his outlet for a solo record, a crack supporting cast, and a plainly personal batch of endlessly bouncing, riff-heavy, screaming rock 'n' soul.

After stints in a few Birmingham mainstays like the Back Row Baptists and Fishergreen, Green had an ominous hankering for a solo record. Enter drummer Jason Lucia and the impervious shredding of Through the Sparks’ Jody Nelson and Greg Slamen -- a veritable ‘A-team’ of local and longtime buddies with a fresh notebook of new songs and boogie riffs for days.

From the sheer magnitude of opening jam “Out to the City” and its wall-bouncing shuffle, it’s plain to see the direction we’re taking: grease and guitars, hoots and hollers, sweaty and sanctified... Rejoice! “Ain’t Got God” takes on a gospel form still steeped in noise but heavier-handed in message then delivery. Y’all take heed: the man speaks the truth, and his cohorts play it.

The beauty of this record is in the variations, showing rock prowess but never falling blind on taking it down to nary a slow two-step. Tracks like “I’m a Fool” and “Ain’t It a Shame” are gems. The only song I’m not in love with is closer “Sad Eyed Friend”, and even there the guitar and harp work are audaciously perfect together. It's the chorus that loses me in a weird way, but that’s not even a negative considering how much everything else smokes.

Heath Green and the Makeshifters aren’t reinventing the wheel. That’s simply not the point. It’s not always about what sounds "new". If you can make music like this, influenced by the artists and sounds of your geographic region, there’s no need to make anything anew. The pieces are scattered in various locations, and these boys pick them up and build something for themselves. We’re just lucky enough to listen in.

Raw rock 'n' soul is back in the Magic City, and all the better for it. God Bless Alabama, its clay, or whatever the hell else it may be that incites these grooves. As long as there’s music to be cut into vinyl from the Deep South, my ears will be there to listen. So should yours.





Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".


The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?


Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.


Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.


Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.


Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.


Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.


Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.


Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.


Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.