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The Marshall Tucker Band

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From their first LP in 1973, to their powerful stage presence today, the Marshall Tucker Band has played countless concert venues around the world. With the success of the Volunteer Jam Tour, and 1999 release of Gospel, the good ol’ boys from Spartanburg, South Carolina, remain as a powerful force in the world of music.

David Muse has rejoined the Marshall Tucker Band after a three year absence. As a founding member of Firefall, David took sometime away from MTB to reunite with his bandmates. David originally joined MTB in 1996. We are truly grateful to have such a tremendous talent return on flute, sax and keys.

Doug Gray, lead singer, is quick to credit the band’s current dynamic members with carrying on the everlasting Marshall Tucker Band sound. In 1989, slide guitarist Stuart Swanlund joined the lineup of talented musicians. They also added the highly respected B.B. Borden, who is a former member of both Mother’s Finest and The Outlaws, on drums in the early ‘90s.

“The buying public never really cared whether we were country or rock and roll,” says founding member Doug Gray. “They called us a Southern rock band, but we have always played everything from country to blues and all things in-between. We’re still playing all of the classic songs, but we are moving ahead into other styles as well. We’re also playing for a younger audience than we have in the past, perhaps to the kids of the fans we played in front of in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Gray also notes that people have gotten “married and buried” to classic MTB songs like “Desert Skies” and “Can’t You See”. After nearly 30 years, The Marshall Tucker Band continues to be played on classic rock and country radio, and they have never stopped touring.

“We never play less than 150 shows a year, and sometimes we play as many as 200 shows. We feel we owe it to the fans who have supported us through the years to deliver the music in person,” says Gray.

Years of rigorous tour schedules earned the band the respect of critics and countless dedicated fans. With hit singles like “Heard It in a Love Song,” “Fire on The Mountain,” “Can’t You See,” and “Take The Highway,” The Marshall Tucker Band earned seven gold and three platinum albums while they were on the Capricorn Records label. During the ‘90s, the MTB scored four hit singles on Billboard’s country chart and one on Billboard’s gospel chart. Their music has also been featured on the soundtracks of movies such as Smokey and the Bandit, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, and Shipwrecked.

The Marshall Tucker Band got its start in Spartanburg, South Carolina, when Gray teamed up with Tommy Caldwell and Toy Caldwell, Paul T. Riddle, George McCorkle and Jerry Eubanks, borrowing the name “Marshall Tucker” from a piano tuner whose name was found on a key ring in their old rehearsal space. In 1972, they signed with Capricorn Records, the same label that guided The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, and others to national fame. The MTB opened shows for The Allman Brothers in 1973, and the following year, they began to headline their own shows across America due to the platinum-plus sales of their debut album.

In years to come, The Marshall Tucker Band would wow critics and influence major country acts like Alabama, The Kentucky Headhunters, Confederate Railroad, and Travis Tritt with its definitive blend of rock, rhythm & blues, jazz, country, and gospel. Now, thanks to the expanding scope of today’s music, a new generation of fans is learning what the rest of their fans have known for so long- that good music knows no boundaries.

“As we’ve become older,” Gray grins, eyes twinkling, “our Southern heritage seems to come out even more. But no matter how old we get, we can still rock your socks off.”

While the Allman Brothers Band garnered the majority of attention during their four-decade careers, their contemporaries in Southern rock the Marshall Tucker Band have been more quietly, but just as consistently, making quality music. Only vocalist Doug Gray remains from the original sextet, yet the group’s sound hasn’t changed substantially, as their breezy mix of jazz, blues, and country doesn’t need updating to remain fresh. Their unlikely emphasis on flute defined a style that was lighter and less boogie-oriented than most of the harder-driving acts of their era. Perhaps not surprisingly, age has mellowed them even further, and this album’s one rocker, “‘Travelin’ Man,”‘ seems forced next to the warm melodic roots and country twang that otherwise dominate. Gray’s graying vocals have lost a bit of steam, but the band sounds terrific, and most of the songs glow like burnished gold. The somewhat cliched topics of music, cowboys, horses, and the road appear, but when the elements mesh, as on “‘Cold Steel,”‘ “‘The Guitar Playing Man,”‘ and “‘Crossroad,”‘ favorable comparisons can be made with some of the band’s finest. Coming this late in the Marshall Tucker Band’s career, that’s an unlikely and impressive feat.


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