Doug Gray – founding member of The Marshall Tucker Band – recently got a reminder of how much the band's music has touched generations of music fans. Their classic "Can't You See" was covered on both FOX's "American Idol" (by C.J. Harris) and NBC's "The Voice" (by Patrick Thompson).
"I watch what today's kids are doing – and what they are listening to," Gray tells Billboard. "Their theme night was bands that had endured over a period of time, and that really made me feel good. They mentioned us and Skynyrd and people like this, and to watch Patrick on ‘The Voice' was great. The boy has got some soul." Gray says that though the song is a classic now, none of the original members saw it coming some four decades ago. "When Toy Caldwell wrote that song, none of us knew that it was going to be as popular forty years later. We had no idea that any of us would make it past the weekend. So, to watch those guys do it, and all the emails and calls was amazing. I actually had to turn my phone off because people were calling about Patrick."
Gray was also quick to give equal time to Harris. "I also thought that C.J. also did a great job. He sang that song with more soul than it was originally sung. Toy sang it with passion, but CJ sang it with more soul. I was so impressed by him. I couldn't believe it, actually. It's like when you first hear your song on the radio for the first time. You don't know what to say. Both of those guys did a great job. I can't express to you what kind of talent they have."
In addition to feeling honored that "Can't You See" was included on the show, Gray also said the performances definitely raised awareness of the band – from a viral level. "I checked the website, and there were thousands of hits on our website after that. Also, the next morning, it was all over all of our Facebook pages, people saying congratulations to us, but it really shows what a great song Toy Caldwell wrote," he says proudly.
Make no mistake about it, however – the Marshall Tucker Band is far from resting on their laurels. The bus is set to rack up the miles in 2014, and Gray couldn't be happier. "We did about 101 shows last year. We're probably going to do about 140 this year. Everything is moving forward."
Longtime fans of the band can look forward to a new reissue package later this year that takes them back in time a bit to the days of the original band members. "We're putting the final touches on a live record we cut back in September 1977 at Racetown Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. It was us, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and the Grateful Dead. We just happened to get our hands on that stuff, and when we did, it was so good we had to go in and update things. We didn't fix or change anything, just made it sound better. That will be coming out. It's going to be amazing for collectors."