The Marshall Tucker Band came together as a young, hungry, and quite driven six-piece outfit in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1972, having duly baptized themselves with the name of a blind piano tuner after they found it inscribed on a key to their original rehearsal space – and they’ve been in tune with tearing it up on live stages both big and small all across the globe ever since. Plus, the band’s mighty music catalog, consisting of more than 20 studio albums and a score of live releases, has racked up multi-platinum album sales many times over. A typically rich MTB setlist is bubbling over with a healthy dose of hits like the heartfelt singalong “Heard It in a Love Song,” the insistent pleading of “Can’t You See” (the signature tune of MTB’s late co-founding lead guitarist and then-principal songwriter Toy Caldwell), the testifying “Fire on the Mountain,” the wanderlust gallop of “Long Hard Ride,” and the explosive testimony of “Ramblin,’” to name but a few. Indeed, the secret ingredient to the ongoing success of The Marshall Tucker Band’s influence can be seen and felt far and wide throughout many mainstream digital outlets (Netflix, Amazon, etc.). In essence, it’s this inimitable down-home sonic style that helped make the MTB the first truly progressive Southern band to grace this nation’s airwaves – the proof of which can be found within the grooves and ever-shifting gears of “Take the Highway,” the first song on their self-titled April 1973 debut album on Capricorn Records, The Marshall Tucker Band. “We had the commonality of having all grown up together in Spartanburg,” explains Gray about his original MTB bandmates, guitar wizard Toy Caldwell and his brother, bassist Tommy Caldwell, alongside rhythm guitarist George McCorkle, drummer Paul T. Riddle, and flautist/saxophonist Jerry Eubanks. Ed Roland, the lead vocalist and chief songwriter for Collective Soul, adds “The Marshall Tucker Band had a big influence on me and they still do.” Roland, who’s lived the majority of his life in and around Atlanta, also proudly points out that his band’s biggest hit, “Shine,” owes a clear debt to the musical structure of “Can’t You See,” and he’ll often start off by singing the opening line to that song – “I’m gonna take a freight train” – whenever Collective Soul performs “Shine” live. Doug Gray sees no end to the road that lies ahead for The Marshall Tucker Band, whose legacy is being carried forward by the man himself and his current bandmates, drummer B.B. Borden (Mother’s Finest, The Outlaws), bassist/vocalist Ryan Ware, keyboardist/saxophonist/flautist/vocalist Marcus James Henderson, guitarist/vocalist Chris Hicks, and guitarist/ vocalist Rick Willis. May the MTB wagon train continue running like the wind on a long hard ride for many more years to come. One thing we absolutely know for sure: If you heard it in a Marshall Tucker Band song, it certainly can’t be wrong.