RIP Marshall Grant
This morning, after signing in to Twitter, I was greeted by some bad news. Rosanne Cash had tweeted that Marshall Grant, the bass player for Johnny Cash from 1954 to 1980 (as well as one show in 1999) and the last surviving member of the Tennessee Two had passed away last night. As anybody who has listened to Cash’s early records knows, Mr. Grant’s playing was an integral and iconic part of the music that would go on to influence thousands of later artists in country, rock and beyond.
As I write this, I’m listening to Johnny Cash’s Sun sessions and mourning the fact that all three of the men I’m hearing are now gone. But with that comes a new revelation about this music: that it is as important as anything recorded by other long-deceased artists- Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Son House, the Carter Family and on and on. Without any living connection, this music now belongs to the ages and I have no doubt whatsoever that folks will still be listening to it a century in the future.
On a more personal note, I would like to have thanked Mr. Grant for the countless hours I have enjoyed in front of a turntable or CD player listening to the music that he was such a huge part of. Groups like the Tennessee Two only come around once in a great while and to be a part of that was to be a part of musical immortality. RIP Mr. Grant.