Tennessee Two bassist Marshall Grant passes away

August 9, 2011 by Amy Gold

Marshall Grant (May 5, 1928 - August 7, 2011) was the bassist for the Tennessee Two, Johnny Cash's original backup band. Grant played bass with Cash until 1980 and also served as his road manager. After that, he managed the Statler Brothers until their retirement in 2002. Following an aneurysm and stroke, Grant passed away at 83 last Sunday, August 7, 2011 in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Grant was the last surviving member of the Tennessee Two whose other member was electric guitarist Luther Perkins. Grant and Perkins were auto mechanics in Memphis and in 1954, their co-worker, Roy Cash, introduced them to his younger brother, John. In 1960, the duo became the Tennessee Three with the addition of drummer W. S. Holland. They created Cash's signature "boom-chicka-boom" sound or freight train rhythm as heard in numerous hits such as "I Walk The Line," "Ring of Fire," and "Folsom Prison Blues." Grant and Perkins, as The Tennessee Two, were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville in 2007.

Johnny Cash' early life and career were chronicled in the 2005 biopic, "Walk The Line," starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Robert Patrick. Marshall Grant was played by Larry Bagby. Grant wrote about his life with Cash in "I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash," published in 2006.