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Marshall Grant, Member of Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two, Dead at 83

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The last living member of Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two has died. Marshall Grant was a bandmate, road manager and dear friend to the Man in Black for more than four decades. He played the upright bass in the trio, alongside guitarist Luther Perkins, and is largely credited with pioneering the “boom chicka boom” sound for which Cash was so famous.

Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper reports that the 83-year-old Grant was in Jonesboro, Ark. last week to participate in the Johnny Cash Festival, the proceeds of which are going to help restore the country icon’s childhood home in the nearby town of Dyess. He spent Wednesday afternoon (August 3) rehearsing with his old friends Kris Kristofferson, George Jones and Rodney Crowell, along with Cash’s children John Carter and Rosanne.

“He was excited and passionate about the day,” John Carter Cash tells the Tennessean. “He was right in the thick of it, and he saw history coming full circle.”

After rehearsal, Grant collapsed in his hotel room and was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove a blood clot. He died Sunday morning of an aneurysm.

Rosanne announced his passing to her Twitter followers, writing, “He was my back-up dad. Lots of bass players owe him a debt.”

Grant recorded with Cash from 1954 to 1980 and can be heard on the majority of the legend’s biggest hits, including ‘Ring of Fire,’ ‘Man in Black,’ ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and ‘I Walk the Line.’ The two parted ways in 1980 after Grant was fired from the band, reportedly due to arguments over Cash’s drug problems. Grant filed a lawsuit against the singer for wrongful termination and embezzlement of retirement funds. The matter was settled out of court, and the two quickly reconciled, remaining friends and reuniting to perform together again in the late ’90s.

Throughout his career, Grant played with a number of other legendary singers, from Bob Dylan to Carl Perkins, and managed the Statler Brothers until their retirement in 2004.

Grant penned an autobiography in 2006, titled ‘I Was There When It Happened: My Life With Johnny Cash.’ Recalls Rosanne, “Marshall used to say, ‘If you want the REAL story, ask me.’”

‘Folsom Prison Blues’ Video, Featuring Marshall Grant
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