High Water's collection of masters were recorded in Memphis Tennessee and the surrounding Mississippi Delta in the 1970s-80s during a time when Memphis dominated the world music scene with the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Records and Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Booker T. and the M.G.s at Stax Records. 

With no place for little known, less popular, traditional blues or gospel musicians to record, indigenous music was in danger of becoming a lost art. 

Fortunately, University of Memphis Ethnomusicologist Professor Dr. David Evans and College of Communication and Fine Arts Dean Richard Ranta formed an on-campus record company called High Water Records and corresponding Music River Publishing in order to preserve for generations to come, the legacy of American-made Jazz, church-grown Gospel, and down-home Delta Blues forever.

Dr. Evans and Dean Ranta continue to be the driving force behind High Water and Music River/Mississippi River Publishing. In Fall of 2013, Ben Yonas joined the team as a Visiting Instructor in Music Business. He received a B.F.A. in jazz piano performance and B.S. in Economics from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Ben is the founder, producer and manager of Yonas Media in Oakland, CA, a music production, artist management, and event production company. He also founded and managed Metaphonic Recording Studios in New York, NY. Prior to that, he was co-owner and manager of Coast Recorders, San Francisco’s largest recording studio. His productions have garnered a Grammy nomination and a European Grammy. Ben also serves as faculty advisor to the student-run record label Blue TOM Records.


Dean of the College of

Communications and Fine Arts

University of Memphis


Professor of Ethnomusicology

University of Memphis

Ben Yonas, B.F.A, B.S. 

Professor of Music Business

University of Memphis