Marshall Grant, the bass player for Johnny Cash's Tennessee Two, passed away Sunday morning in Jonesboro, AK after suffering an aneurysm. He was 83.
Grant was working as an auto mechanic in Memphis when he met salesmen Luther Perkins and Roy Cash, Sr., brother of Johnny Cash. When Johnny returned from the service, Grant, Perkins, Cash and A.W. Kernodle started playing together; however, all of them played guitar so Grant was convinced to switch to bass.
Grant and Perkins stayed on with Cash after he began recording for Sun as the Tennessee Two. Drummer W.S. Holland was added to the group in 1960 making it the Tennessee Three and Bob Wootton became the guitarist in 1968 when Perkins was killed in a house fire.
All told, Grant was with Cash from 1954 to 1980 when Cash decided to fire him. Their separation was spurred by Cash's ongoing drug addiction and Marshall finding that Johnny had been embezzling funds from he and Perkins' retirement funds. Both Grant and Perkins' daughter filed suit against Cash in actions that were eventually settled out-of-court.
I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny CashCash and Grant did reconcile with Marshall helping with Johnny's drug problems. He went on to manage the Statler Brothers and became involved in powerboat racing. He also published his autobiography, 2006's I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash. Perkins and Grant were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame, as the Tennessee Two, in 2007.
Grant's last appearance was late last week at the Johnny Cash Festival in Jonesboro, TN where he got a chance to reminisce with Cash family members. Late Wednesday night, he collapsed and was taken to the local hospital where he had surgery to remove a blood clot.
Rosanne Cash sent a series of Tweets on Sunday about Grant:
Marshall Grant, original of Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two, died lst nt. Grateful I was w/ him last 2 days. Boom Chicka Boom, old friend.
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.
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.
More from VVN Music