Marshall Grant dies at 83. He was a longtime member of country music superstar Johnny Cash’s original backing band, The Tennessee Two.
Grant passed in Arkansas after falling ill following rehearsal for a concert to raise funds for the restoration of Cash’s boyhood home. Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn., said Grant died Sunday in Jonesboro. Grant had traveled to Arkansas from his home at Hernando, Miss., for a Johnny Cash Festival that also featured country music stars George Jones, Kris Kristofferson and Cash’s children, Rosanne Cash and John Carter Cash. Thursday’s festival was established to help restore Johnny Cash’s boyhood home near Dyess in northeast Arkansas. Cash, who died in 2003, was born in Kingsland in south-central Arkansas.
“Grateful I was w/ him last 2 days. Boom Chicka Boom, old friend,” Rosanne Cash tweeted Monday. She said in later Twitter messages that she was leaving Arkansas via the Memphis airport and eating barbecue as a comfort food. “He was my ‘back-up dad’. Lot of bass players owe him a debt,” she said in another post.
Grant and Luther Perkins were guitar-playing auto mechanics when they were introduced to Johnny Cash by Cash’s brother, Roy, a fellow mechanic, in Memphis in 1954. He played bass guitar in Cash’s band from 1954-80.
Grant then managed The Statler Brothers until they retired in 2002 and later wrote the autobiography “I Was There When It Happened.”
He remained active in recent years by raising quarter horses, restoring old cars and spending time with his grandchildren. A spokeswoman at St. Bernard’s Regional Medical Center in Jonesboro did not return a phone call seeking comment. The cause of death was not immediately available. Funeral services are pending.By: Jennifer Hong
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