According to his mother, Doug Gray developed an interest in entertaining at an early age. He would walk around in his baby crib smiling and dancing to the country music tunes coming from the family radio. Throughout his school years, Gray was a singer -- perhaps not a professional, but someone in whom the seed of stardom had been firmly planted. As a teenager, Gray fronted a band called the Guildsmen, performing rhythm & blues and rock covers before joining Tommy Caldwell in the New Generation, who cut a locally moderately successful 45, "Because of Love It's All Over," co-written by Caldwell and Gray. Just after high school, Gray joined friends Tommy and Toy Caldwell, Jerry Eubanks, and Ross Hanna to form the Toy Factory, a band that immediately began to achieve popularity. Toy Factory became so popular that they were asked to open for the Allman Brothers Band. Soon, though, the various bandmembers were drafted or enlisted in the different branches of the military, and the band went through a couple of changes in personnel during the interim. When everyone returned from service, the musicians regrouped with Gray, the Caldwell brothers, and Eubanks being joined by George McCorkle, and Paul T. Riddle, who was still in high school.
During rehearsal one night, someone found a key ring in the warehouse where they practiced that belonged to a local piano tuner named Marshall Tucker. The band's name was born. While opening a show at the Ruins in Spartanburg for Wet Willie, the Marshall Tucker Band was heard by Willie's lead singer, Jimmy Hall. Hall took the band to Macon, Georgia, where he introduced them to Capricorn Records CEO Phil Walden, who signed the band almost immediately. From 1972 to date, Gray has acted as lead vocalist for the Marshall Tucker Band. In 1979, the band shifted to Warner Bros. following the bankruptcy of Capricorn. In 1980, bassist Tommy died following an auto accident in his hometown of Spartanburg. In 1983, his brother Toy, along with McCorkle and Riddle, decided to retire from the band. Gray and Eubanks carried on, hiring some of Spartanburg's finest musicians and recording a series of excellent albums. The band continued to tour on a regular basis and in 1999, the Marshall Tucker Band featured Gray, David Muse, Rusty Milner, Stuart Swanlund, Barry Borden, and Tim Lawter.
Face Down in the Blues. This version of MTB toured and recorded during much of the first decade of the 21th century with varying lineups, releasing the gospel record Dedicated in 1999, a hailed comeback effort entitled Beyond the Horizon in 2004, Tenth in 2005, Carolina Christmas in 2006, and Next Adventure in 2007 -- all of them with Gray at the helm. In 2011, he released the often rumored but never previously issued Soul of the South. The eight out-of-character R&B-styled cover tunes on this set were recorded in 1981 by the original MTB and a host of studio aces at Gray's studio in Spartanburg for a solo record that he shelved because of MTB's recording schedule.