Heath Green and the Makeshifters - Heath Green and the Makeshifters (Alive Natural Sound)
It’s just a theory so bear with it: As music’s once essential ingredients like passion and energy become even more diluted, those who still want to practice rock and roll as it used to be known will be forced right back into their past.
The ‘70s will become Rock’s Golden Age, even if the ‘60s were better, simply because that was the time when mass media first took a real grip and force-fed culture to the populace. Rock and roll will become more reactionary, tougher and more comfortable within its own leathery skin.
The meek will have already inherited the earth and occupied portable electronic devices and the digital channels. The only contestable ground will be bars and clubs where earthy, honest rock and roll will make a vinyl-like resurgence among a small but devoted following, and select newcomers (aka bored Milllennials.) Which is where someone like Heath Green comes in.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing the ‘70s on your sleeve when you do it well. Heath Green and his hard-nosed crew the Makeshifters are the sort of swaggering, soulful muso’s who used to endlessly traipse from one side of the US of A to the other, living in a tour bus and playing ballrooms and theatres, one level down from stadia.
Green is a journeyman rocker from Birmingham. Alabama, a gruffl-voiced guitarist who’s done time in scores of local acts. He grew up on the Faces, Stones, Humble Pie and the like and it comes across in his music. It’s riff-riddled, bluesy stuff that cajoles and pushes rather than amazes with anything radically new.
The band’s great; lead guitarist Jody Nelson summons genuine fire from his instrument, and Jason Lucia has it all down pat on drums. Listen to them and their bandmates nail it to the floor on the tightly-wound “Took Off My Head”. The songs range from chunky Southern rock to soul-tinged blues and back again.
Green can tackle a mid-paced soul crooner like “I’m A Fool” with deftness and passion. A stuttering boogie like “Ain’t Ever Be My Baby” works because it’s roughed up and dirty. Nelson crackles and burns on the smouldering “Sad Eyed Friend”.
Of course the risk of raking over the coals is that you can drag up the worst of the era and foolishly make it your own. Heath Green knows enough to swipe the good stuff and leave the dross behind.