Doug Gray of Marshall Tucker Band Says People ‘Didn’t Know Where to Put Us’ in Band’s Early Days

by Clayton Edwards
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The Marshall Tucker Band’s founding lineup took the music that they grew up with and loved – jazz, country, blues, and rock – and forged something new. Today, we know this eclectic blend as Southern rock and it’s a staple of our playlists and summer nights. However, when they burst onto the scene with their debut single “Can’t You See” in 1973, no one knew quite what to do with them. They didn’t let that stop them from making the music they wanted to make. Now, fifty years after the band formed in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that drive to do their own thing has made them legends in the world of American music.

Recently, Marshall Tucker Band’s lead vocalist and only remaining original member, Doug Gray, sat down with Fox News to look back on the band’s 5-decade-long run. At one point, he talked about how hard it was for the industry to figure out what to do with the band.

The Marshall Tucker Band Didn’t Fit in a Box

It’s not surprising that the industry couldn’t decide where to put the Marshall Tucker Band.

Their debut single “Can’t You See” didn’t even break the top 100 when it dropped. Now, it’s a certified classic. Honestly, I doubt there are many people in the Southeast who can’t sing along to that song today. However, listening to it today and imagining that Southern rock wasn’t a huge part of the current American musical landscape, it would be easy to see how someone would say, “What is this?”

It opens with a folksy-sounding finger-picked acoustic guitar. Then, a flute comes in alongside a pronounced, muted bassline. It sounds great, but at the time there was nothing like it on the radio. When you add Gray’s soulful vocals, the Marshall Tucker Band becomes more of an anomaly.

“People didn’t know where to put us in the beginning because we could go and play with Spyro Gyra and Thelonius Monk, and then we’d be with Dionne Warwick,” Gray explained. Then, Gray talked a little about the performing with Warwick. He thought to himself, “This is kind of cool because this is how I grew up singing was just like she was singing – from the heart.”

Still Going Strong

Marshall Tucker Band is on the road right now celebrating fifty years of killer Southern rock. They’ll be booking shows well into 2023. So, if you want to see Doug Gray and the rest of the band do their thing, you have plenty of chances. Head over to the band’s website for tour dates and more information.

Doug Gray has no plans to stop making music as long as he’s still able to do so. Let’s hope that means we get many more years of good tunes from Gray and the band.

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