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High Water Records rising again!

September 30, 2013

Music industry students at the University of Memphis are bringing High Water Records back to life! Assisted by Ben Yonas, Visiting Professor of Music Business, students are gaining real experience in the challenges and rewards of running a record label as they work to bring High Water Records into the 21st Century.

Fans of High Water can expect great things and some surprises as the label makes its return to the forefront of the music industry.



High Water Records and student-run Blue TOM Records joined forces to produce a one-of-a-kind musical tribute in honor of Willie Mitchell's Royal Studio's for it's contribution and tireless dedication to Memphis music and musicians. 

Proceeds from the star-studded event, which added up to almost $3000 in ticket sales, auction items and donations from sponsors, went to benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation, an organization that provides emergency support and professional developemenet for elderly blues musicians in need.

Check out video highlights from the event with performances by Dominique McClellan, Victor Wainwright and Barbara Blue. Enjoy!


Memphis, TN – The students of the University of Memphis' music industry program and their associated record labels, Blue TOM and High Water Records, are teaming up with local sponsors the Bank of Bartlett, the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission, the Recording Academy, the Memphis Music Foundation, Cheryl Cohn of Crye-Leike Realtors, Texas Roadhouse, Laurel James Hair Elements, Betsie Brown's Blind Raccoon Publicity and others to present A TRIBUTE TO WILLIE MITCHELL'S ROYAL STUDIOS.

The event, emceed by radio personality Earle Augustus of WRBO-FM Soul Classics 103.5, will be held at Beale Street's historic New Daisy Theatre on Thursday, April 21, 2011, and will feature an awards ceremony to honor the proprietors and various artists who have recorded for the legendary studio over the past 54 years.

Artists scheduled to perform include blues musicians Victor Wainwright, Barbara Blue, Lester Snell, Brandon Bailey and Dominique McClellan. A host of Memphis' premiere players are lending their talent to this worthy cause as well, including, keyboardist Joe Boogie, bass player Leo Goff, guitarist Josh Roberts, drummer Carlos Sergeant, saxophonist Jim Spake and powerhouse vocalists Big Baby and Pie Brown. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION, INC., a public charity that provides financial assistance and musical development grants to elderly Southern musicians in need.

A TRIBUTE TO WILLIE MITCHELL'S ROYAL STUDIOS will begin at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM. Ticket costs are $10.00 in advance for general admission and $15.00 at the door. Tickets are available at the New Daisy Theatre box office, Spin Street Music or online via PayPal at www.highwaterrecords.com.

Individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring the event with monetary or in-kind donations may contact Stacy Kline at (724) 272-9956 or bluetomrecords@gmail.com.


Blue TOM Records release a new album in support of Music Maker Relief Foundation

"BLUES IN BLACK & WHITE" the new album recorded and produced by students from the Music Industry program at the University of Memphis celebrated it's Dec. 1, 2010 release with a spectacular Release Party and Fundraiser at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street. Proceeds from the event will benefit the MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION, a public charity that provides financial support to elderly blues musicians. Donations of $10.00 or more will receive a FREE BLUES IN BLACK & WHITE CD as a gift.

After an award ceremony honoring him for his support of student-run Blue TOM Records and his contribution to blues music, High Water co-founder Dr. David Evans surprised the crowd with a soulful performance of one of his many critically acclaimed songs.

BLUES IN BLACK & WHITE is a labor of love that revitalizes some of the most captivating songs from the vintage catalog of blues, jazz and gospel recordings of University of Memphis-owned High Water Records. With students and local musicians re-interpreting and reinvigorating each verse, their youth, enthusiasm and passion for the project provide a fresh, contemporary take on the musical tradition that has come to help define the City of Memphis: the Blues.

RELEASED ON HIGH WATER RECORDS and distributed by HighTone, Inside Sounds and Shout Factory, the original collection of masters was recorded in Memphis as part of the University’s Commercial Music Program during the 1970s-80s.  Spearheaded by Dr. David Evans and Dean Richard Ranta the record label was founded in an effort to preserve the indigenous music of Memphis and the Mississippi Delta.

BLUES IN BLACK & WHITE is a collaboration between High Water, the student-run label Blue T.O.M. Records and the Music Industry Program at the University of Memphis in an effort to raise awareness for the catalog, for the long-standing history of blues music and for the plight of elderly musicians throughout the region.  Proceeds from the sale of the album are being donated to benefit the MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION, Inc., a tax exempt, public charity which helps the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition and meet their day to day needs. MUSIC MAKER provides Southern musicians who are 55 years or older and have an annual income of less than $18,000 with Musician Sustenance grants to meet basic life needs and emergency relief; Musical Development grants and services for artist professional development and career advancement; and Cultural Access which supports the preservation and proliferation of American musical traditions.

For more information or to donate to the MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION online, please log onto: www.musicmaker.org

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