Grant was raised in Bessemer City, North Carolina as one of twelve children. He settled in Memphis, Tennessee in 1947, where he worked as a mechanic; first for Wagner Brake Service, then C.M. Booth Motor Company, and later, Automobile Sales Company in Memphis. It was during this time that he met fellow Automobile Sales employees Luther Perkins and Roy Cash, Sr., older brother of Johnny Cash.
bassist: the tennessee three (1954 - 1980)
Also credited by johnny cash for playing "the chewing gum"
When the younger Cash returned to Memphis after serving in the U.S. Air Force, Grant, Perkins and Cash began playing together as three rhythm guitarists, along with another Automobile Sales co-worker and steel guitar player, A.W. "Red" Kernodle. Grant was a self-taught musician, learning to play the bass after the group collectively decided that Grant should switch to playing bass, and that Perkins would play lead guitar. During the formation of this group, Cash used Grant's Martin guitar for performances, and for many years thereafter, for songwriting.
Grant was an important part of the trademark 'boom-chicka-boom' sound of Johnny Cash that would change the sound of country music. He recorded with Cash from 1954 until 1980. Grant also voluntarily took on the responsibilities of road manager for Cash's touring show.
Cash's recurring drug problems eventually led to issues that resulted in Grant being fired by Cash in 1980. Despite the bitter legal battles, the two men later reconciled. Grant contends that he was probably Cash's closest and most trusted friend; indeed, he played a critical role in helping Cash when Cash's drug problems threatened his career and his life. Grant made a final appearance onstage with Cash in 1999 as an original member of The Tennessee Two.