Published on September 7th, 2021 | by TLV News


Grammy Museum® Mississippi to celebrate Memphis’ Iconic Royal Studios with Events from September 17-18

An evening with the Mitchell family to take place on Sept. 17, and a free family day event to be held on Sept. 18 with food trucks and special performances

In conjunction with its latest exhibit, Willie Mitchell & The Music of Royal Studios, GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi will host a special weekend of events from Sept. 17–18 to celebrate the legendary Memphis studio where icons such as Al Green, Bruno Mars, and John Mayer have been recorded. The weekend will kick off on Friday, Sept. 17, with An Evening With The Mitchell Family featuring a moderated conversation with GRAMMY® winner Boo Mitchell, followed by a special performance from the Hi Rhythm Section featuring Ashton Riker and Lil Rounds. On Saturday, Sept. 18, the Museum will host Royal Studios Family Day, a free community event featuring a live performance from R&B and soul duo Variety in partnership with Deep Roots, a special screening and more. Food trucks will be on site for guest purchasing. Sponsors for Royal Studios Family Day include Needle Specialty Products, Kings Daughters and Sons Circle Number 2, and Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

“As one of the oldest recording studios in the country, Royal Studios has given so much to American music, and the countless artists who have had the privilege of recording there,” said Emily Havens, Executive Director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. “We are so thrilled to be able to celebrate the late Willie Mitchell and the history of Royal Studios with our exhibit and this special weekend of events.

“Willie Mitchell & The Music of Royal Studios” is a collaborative exhibit between the Mississippi Museum and Memphis-based Royal Studios that tells the story of the iconic studio—one of the oldest in the world that continues to operate today—and the late Willie Mitchell, who ran the studio and produced many artists on its label, Hi Records. This exhibit will be on display at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi through February 2022. For more information on the exhibit, click here.

An Evening With The Mitchell Family will be held in the Museum’s Sanders Soundstage on Friday, Sept. 17, at 7 pm, with a pre-event reception starting at 6 pm. The event will feature a conversation with GRAMMY-winning producer, musician, songwriter, and audio engineer Boo Mitchell, son of the late Willie Mitchell, and other members of the Mitchell family. The conversation will be followed by a special performance from members of the Hi Rhythm Section featuring Ashton Riker and Lil Rounds. Tickets to An Evening With The Mitchell Family are $20 for Museum members and $25 for non-members. For ticket information, click here. More information about the GRAMMY Museum’s Membership program can be found here.

Royal Studios Family Day will be held at the Museum on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 am to 2 pm. The free event will give attendees the opportunity to explore the GRAMMY Museum and its exhibits, including the Royal Studios exhibit, and participate in arts activities with the Delta Arts Alliance. At 11 am, the Museum will host a special screening of Willie Mitchell and the Music of Royal Studios, followed by a 12 pm performance featuring Variety in partnership with Deep Roots. Prior to the event, at 9 am guests can get moving to the music of Motown at the Museum’s FitBeat Series: Motown Moves, presented by the Bolivar Medical Center Foundation. For more information on Royal Studios Family Day, click here.


Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell is a GRAMMY-winning record producer, musician, songwriter, audio engineer, and owner of Royal Studios in Memphis. Born in Memphis into a musical family, Boo Mitchell’s late father, Willie Mitchell, operated Royal Studios and was Vice President of Hi Records, producing and arranging music for a variety of acts such as Al Green, Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, and Buddy Guy. Boo Mitchell’s own career began at age 17 when he played keyboard on one of Al Green’s gospel albums, which later won a GRAMMY. In 2006 he was credited with the horn arrangements for track 12 of John Mayer’s Continuum, which was later certified double platinum. Additional artists he’s worked with include William Bell, Solomon Burke, Cody Chesnutt, Lamont Dozier, Al Green, Anthony Hamilton, Terrence Howard, Keb’ Mo, Bobby Rush, Boz Scaggs, Snoop Dogg, and Rod Stewart, among others. When Willie Mitchell passed away in 2010, he left Royal Studios in the hands of his sons, Boo Mitchell as manager and Archie Mitchell as audio engineer. Since his father’s passing in 2010, Boo Mitchell has continued to operate Royal Studios as owner, manager and producer.


Hi Rhythm Section’s distinctive, warm, swirling soul sound and intuitive groovy funk was a major ingredient in the success of the Hi Records label through the 1970s and helped define the sounds of classic Memphis soul. Hi Rhythm has performed as a band or on an individual basis on 26 consecutive gold and platinum albums and countless chart-topping hits for artists such as Al Green, Otis Clay, Boz Scaggs, Melissa Etheridge, Rod Stewart, Keith Richards, Wu-Tang Clan, Don Bryant, and many others. In 2017, Hi Rhythm released an album in collaboration with Robert Cray titled Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm, which was nominated for a 60th GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. The band also won Best Blues Soul Album with Robert Cray and Steve Jordan at the 2018 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, and won Best 2018 International Blues Album at the JAZZ FM Awards in London.


Ashton Riker is a singer/songwriter born and raised in Memphis. Exposed at an early age to the soulful sounds of Al Green, Otis Redding, and other Memphis soul legends, Riker developed a love for singing and performing. As a student at the Stax Music Academy, he spent his high school years singing, performing and touring. He subsequently received a full tuition scholarship to pursue a degree in songwriting at the Berklee College of Music. After college, with the help of his friend and producer, Andrew Saino, Riker began building a catalog of songs that span every genre, from soul to pop. Boo Mitchell and Royal Studios began helping him build a career through gigs and recording, which eventually lead to the Take Me to The River tour. Take Me to The River is an award-winning documentary that chronicles the passing of the torch from the legends of blues and soul to the next generation. The tour featured the cross-genre collaboration of blues, soul and rap and featured William Bell, Bobby Rush, Charlie Musselwhite, Frayser Boy, Al Kapone, and The Hi Rhythm Section, and gave Riker an opportunity to perform with the legends that had influenced him. Riker has performed with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, William Bell, Kirk Whalum, and many more. Most recently, Riker participated on Royce Da 5’9’s album The Allegory, which was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards in 2020.


Lil Rounds is an American singer, songwriter and recording artist from Memphis, Tenn. She appeared as a finalist on the eighth season of American Idol, placing seventh. Her performance garnered praise from judge Simon Cowell, Quentin Tarantino, and Queen Latifah, which led her to return for the finale of season eight to perform “Cut the Rain” with the GRAMMY-winning artist. Lil Rounds went on to make guest appearances on Live with Regis and Kelly, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Larry King Live. Lil Rounds has been exposed to music all her life, from gospel to jazz, funk, doo-wop and soul. As a child, she had the opportunity to be taught her alphabet and numbers by the legendary Ann Peebles, who famously sang “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” Her grandfather is the late Sylvester Mackey, who was lead guitar player for B.B. King. Lil Rounds is currently working on her debut album, set for release in fall 2021. She recently founded the MOSAIC Institute of Performing Arts, which teaches music appreciation and prepares young artists for the music industry.


Variety is the popular “old-school” R&B/soul duo of siblings Eric Edwards and Shara White from Cleveland, Miss. They have been performing together across the country for more than 25 years. Their upbeat repertoire is the kind of music that, according to Eric, makes audiences want to “eat barbecue and drink cold beer.” Eric’s voice has been compared to the Isley Brothers, and Shara’s voice draws comparisons to Whitney Houston, but they both feel that God has given them each a unique voice. Although known for their R&B style, the duo is also deeply rooted in gospel music. The duo has released an album together titled There Is No One Else, and in addition to writing original music for God’s Anointed Voices, Eric has released an R&B project titled Those Vinyl Days. Variety has shared the stage with Marvin Sapp, Doug Williams and GRAMMY winner Shirley Caesar. Eric has also toured as a musician with Little Milton Campbell, Bobby Rush, LaVan Davis and the B.B. King Blues Band.


The Deep Roots music project showcases American roots music through live and recorded performances from a selected roster of local musicians. The goal of Deep Roots is to build on the culture of the blues and the birth of the American sound by celebrating and promoting roots music to the local community in Cleveland, Miss., and visitors in the heart of the Americana Music Triangle. For more information, visit


Developed by the Cleveland Music Foundation—a nonprofit organization founded in 2011—the 28,000-square-foot GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is housed near the campus of Delta State University, home of the Delta Music Institute’s Entertainment Industry Studies program, which features the most unique audio recording facilities in the South. Affiliated with the GRAMMY Museum Foundation™, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi is dedicated to exploring the past, present, and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi. The Museum features a dynamic combination of public events, educational programming, engaging multimedia presentations, and interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, including a Mississippi-centric area that introduces visitors to the impact of Mississippi’s songwriters, producers, and musicians on the traditional and modern music landscape.

For more information, visit, “like” GRAMMY Museum Mississippi on Facebook, and follow @grammymuseumms on Twitter and Instagram.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑