Marhsall Grant, the bassist in Johnny Cash’s original backing duo The Tennessee Two, has passed away at the age of 83. Grant was instrumental in Cash’s sound and success, as he also served as Cash’s road manager until 1980. Grant’s playing became an integral role in the “boom-chicka-boom” sound, which shaped a whole style of country and rockabilly music.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Grant moved to Memphis in 1947 and worked as a mechanic, eventually meeting Cash and guitarist Luther Perkins. Grant explains he fell into the position of bassist for their group after a “band meeting.”
After his time with Cash, Grant continued to be a band manager and was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. His autobiography, I Was There When It Happened, was published in 2006.
Cash’s daughter Roseanne was at Grant’s side during his last two days and tweeted about it.
“So grateful I was w/ Marshall Grant last 2 days of his life. He was my ‘back-up dad’. Lot of bass players owe him a debt,” she said. “He was meant to be on Jonesboro show Thurs; came to rehearsal. Played his bass on stage 1 last time, with so many friends. Marshall used to say ‘if you want the REAL story, ask ME!’. Truth.”
Our condolences to Grant’s friends and family.