In Focus: Marshall Tucker Band Keeps Southern Rock Alive At The Skyloft

The Marshall Tucker Band was ‘born’ in Spartanburg, S.C. when Doug Gray teamed up with Tommy and Toy Caldwell, Paul T. Riddle, George McCorkle, and Jerry Eubanks. The name “Marshall Tucker” came from a piano tuner whose name was found on a key ring in their old rehearsal space. In 1973 Marshall Tucker Band opened for The Allman Brothers Band, and the following year, they began to headline their own shows.

Marcus James Henderson – Multi-instrumentalist

The SkyLoft in Albany, NY Crossgates Mall, was almost at full capacity on Saturday night, November 2, 2019. The crowd cheered as Doug Gray, the only original member of The Marshall Tucker Band, took center stage.
At 71, and fronting the band since 1972, he still held his own.

Gray almost took on the part of an orchestra conductor, when he wasn’t belting out a crowd favorite. He would share the moments with the highly talented band members, who proved their musical chops, which included a 13-minute version of the bands’ well-received hit, “Can’t You See.”

“This is one song that’s played eight million times on the radio,” Gray told the crowd. “I want you to sing it with us.” And they did. Gray handed the microphone to two fans in the front row, and they sang a few bars. He then tossed his tambourine into the audience, and the crowd cheered again. You can see the appreciation in Gray’s eyes. The moment, it seemed, to say thank you for all the support over so many years. Truly, this must be what it is all about.

With many southern rock bands, such as The Allman Brothers not performing any longer, and Lynyrd Skynyrd on their last tour, The Marshall Tucker Band kept the genre going. Today, the band members have all changed, with the exception of Gray. B.B. Borden is on drums, Tony Black, bass and vocals, Marcus James Henderson, commands keyboard, saxophone, flute, and vocals. Chris Hicks and Rick Willis shred the guitar and vocals.

Fans become part of the show as Gray hands over the mic

Similar to many of the crooners still touring of his generation, Gray did not sing on every song, he stuck to the classics and let the younger crew take charge, and take charge they did. Each band member had at least one showcase of their talent, with Henderson and his multi-instrumentals taking much of the spotlight. Chris Hicks wailed on guitar and vocals, sounding strong. After “Take The Highway,” Borden did an amazingly-energetic drum solo, which caused standing fans to inch closer into the magic. Recent American Idol finalist, Madison VanDenburg, made a brief visit to take the stage, and tambourine. The generation gap was evident, as she didn’t know the song as Gray tried to prompt her.

If you are able to see this show, you owe it to yourself to do so. One can only hope the hard work and extended tour will help keep this genre alive for many more generations.

One of the few bands of this generation still doing an extended tour. You can find many upcoming shows on the band’s website

Setlist: “Running like the Wind”, This Old Cowboy”, “Hillbilly Band”, “Take the Highway”, “Blue Ridge”, “Fire on the Mountain”, “24 Hours”, “Midnight Promises”, ” I’ll Be Loving You”, “Can’t you See”.