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Marshall Tucker Band doesn't mind new, but likes the old

Absolute Publicity
Marshall Tucker Band

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Marshall Tucker Band

When: 8 p.m. July 11. Opener, SickSense, plays at 6:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Where: Outside at Station Square, South Side


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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

After more than four decades in the music business, the Marshall Tucker Band still never performs fewer than 100 live shows a year. About 20 percent of the band's shows are festivals, like the July 11 show for the Station Square Summer Jam.

And those just may be lead singer Doug Gray's favorite kind of show, because he can get so intimate with the fans.

“I'll be able to walk around and say ‘Hey' to everybody,” says Gray, who still lives in his native Spartanburg, S.C. “A lot of our old fans get to come to stuff like this and bring their kids.”

Fans want their kids “to remember and gather the same feeling from the Marshall Tucker Band that they got,” says Gray, who has two adult daughters and two grandkids. “That's why people still come to see us; we've created so many great memories ... . We've made friends with them.”

For a good portion of Marshall Tucker fans, “I can guarantee I probably know and shook hands with them,” Gray says.

Marshall Tucker's love for nostalgia shows in the band's unusual practice of issuing some albums in old-fashioned, practically obsolete vinyl records, along with CDs. Marshall Tucker's greatest-hits limited edition came out on vinyl, along with the band's first and second albums in a re-issue. Some of Marshall Tucker's six remaining records on contract to come out will offer a vinyl release, he says.

You can still buy turntable record players, but they are rare. Still, there's something about the sound of a vinyl record that sounds more live than cassette tapes, and even the high-tech, modern digital music, Gray says. And Marshall Tucker fans often bring their old vinyl records to concerts for band members to autograph.

“It makes you feel like you're there,” he says. But, “digital is good; don't get me wrong.”

Gray still says that, even after 40-plus years, when he sings a song, the world around him disappears because the song consumes him so much.

“The older you get, the worse that part gets,” he jokes. “If you're a real entertainer, it's not about going out there and doing back-flips to prove a point. ... Even if someone else is singing the music, I still get tied up in the music.

“We just want to do what's right for everyone, not just what's right for us,” Gray says. “Sometimes, we just get lost in it.”

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7824.

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