Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash‘s longtime bassist and co-founder of the Tennessee Two, died on Sunday at the age of 83. Grant, who lived in Hernando, Mississippi, passed away in Jonesboro, Arkansas while in town for the Johnny Cash Festival, an event to raise money to restore Cash’s childhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.
Grant played acoustic and electric bass with Cash from 1954 through 1980, all the while serving as the road manager for the band. Along with guitarist Luther Perkins, Grant established the distinctive rhythms of classic Cash tunes such as “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line.”
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According to Grant, the particular rhythmic style of the band came from having to switch to bass after years of playing guitar. His unfamiliarity with the instrument resulted in the development of what Perkins called their “boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom” sound.