Doug Gray has been asking “Can’t You See” for decades as the lead singer of the Marshall Tucker Band, and on Friday, Nov. 8, local fans will have a chance to find out for themselves when the Southern rock group comes to Wilkes-Barre.
With support from special guests the Outlaws, the band is set to play the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6:30.
During a recent phone interview from his home in sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Gray reflected on the connections he’s made with fans during his more than 40 years leading the band, especially as he has remained the only original and founding member to stick with the group and continue nonstop touring over the decades.
“I personally enjoy being on the road because with every new city, there’s new things to be seen, more people to be met,” Gray said. “And I like Pennsylvania myself. I’ve got a piece of land up there.”
At every stop, Gray makes it a point to meet as many fans as possible and offer up his now-famous “Doug Hug,” which allows him to return the love and care his supporters give him.
“I believe that everybody needs a real good hug, male or female,” he said. “I think it helps people understand each other.
“We’ve played so much over different years and so many different times, it’s kind of nice to embrace the fact that you get to know those people as family.”
In the early years, the Marshall Tucker Band earned a gregarious reputation for its rollicking road show, which brought hits such as “Fire on the Mountain” and “Heard It in a Love Song” to cities across the country, and fans often rewarded the musicians with gifts like bottles of liquor. These days, however, Gray said he is more likely to be given a batch of homemade cookies or regaled with stories of beloved pets or sons named Marshall or Tucker.
“These people, it touched their lives, the band and the words to the songs,” he explained.
And while the group has enjoyed playing major venues including 80,000-seat arenas with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gray said he looks forward to performing at the more intimate Kirby Center so he can feel closer to the crowd and better tailor the set list to its taste.
“When you play in a performing arts-type situation, you almost can read the thoughts of what those people want to hear, and I can communicate with them and say, ‘What do you want to hear?’” he said. “But no matter what, we have never played the same show every night over the last 18 years.”
If you go
- What: The Marshall Tucker Band with special guests the Outlaws
- When: Friday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; doors open at 6:30
- Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
- Details: Tickets cost $39.50, $49.50 and $59.50, plus fees, and are available at the box office, 570-826-1100 and kirbycenter.org. For more information on the band, visit marshalltucker.com.
Patrice Wilding is a 13-year employee of the Lifestyles Dept. at The Times-Tribune, where she worked her way up from a clerk to a web video producer to a full-time reporter, writer and copy editor. An Olyphant native, she graduated from Mid Valley Secondary Center and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with concentration in media arts, political science and communications from Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, Justin, and their son, Johnny. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT